The Standard Chartered Women in Technology Incubator Kenya is Africa’s leading incubator program for female-founded businesses, aligning with calls for more diversity in technology, and entrepreneurship and for more opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial and leadership excellence. The program is an initiative of Standard Chartered in partnership with @iBizAfrica Centre, Strathmore University.
The program combines world-class startup support with local and international experience to provide a holistic startup incubation program focusing on immersive learning, mentorship & coaching, seed financing, and business-to-business linkages for high-potential startups tackling the continent’s most relevant challenges.
Women-led businesses are important contributors to the global economy, especially in developing countries, where SMEs are estimated to generate 70% of jobs and 40% of economic growth (Schnabel and Keenan, 2020). According to CNN, BBC, and the Telegraph (UK), many women-owned businesses have mushroomed post covid and they realize that “recovery from Covid-19 is impossible without women recovering.”
The post – covid effects on women-owned businesses is one of the thematic areas that will be covered in the Women in Tech Cohort 5 along with its intersection with the rise of internet media, AI & Big Data, gender diversity in businesses, and green businesses. These businesses are vital since in emerging markets, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which create 7 out of 10 jobs.
Women in Kenya face gender-based barriers when starting and growing their businesses, for example, in accessing business development support, social capital, and financial services. Underpinning these difficulties are gender norms that explicitly make the enabling environment more challenging for women in business. Support programs such as the Women In Tech Incubator program are important in overcoming these barriers that impact on women’s ability to start and grow their businesses. The International Women’s Day 2022 theme “Break the Bias” supports this agenda.
The Covid pandemic has led to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a decrease in transport which in turn has caused positive effects on the environment. Cognisant of the fact that the world today is embracing green growth, we count on the young entrepreneurs from the Women in Tech program to develop a more sustainable future.
Since its launch in 2017, the Women in Tech program has attracted over 1,150 applications supporting 4 Cohorts. Of the applicants, 41 businesses have gone through the program with 20 teams being awarded USD 10,000 each in seed money. Winning teams have ranged from e-commerce platforms to food supply and nutrition, beauty care, education, insurance, and more. The launch of the Women in Tech Cohort 5 provides a unique opportunity for women with unique innovations to grow their entrepreneurial success through capacity building, mentorship, coaching, and access to financial support.
- 12 weeks of an immersive learning experience
- Access to a leading network of coaching experts
- Access to B2B networking opportunities
- Personalized mentorship sessions to address your unique business needs
- Opportunity to join a supportive Women in Tech Alumni Network
- KES 1,000,000 equity-free grant seed funding for the top five finalists
- 9 months of ongoing support from Standard Chartered and @iBizAfrica to assist with the go-to-market and scale for the top five finalists.
The Eligibility criterias are as follows:
- The business must be based in Kenya i.e. be aligned with the needs of Kenyans and operating in Kenya
- The company must be tech-enabled and/or leveraging on emerging technologies, including but not limited to; Internet of Things (IoT); Artificial Intelligence; Robotics; Augmented & Virtual Reality; 3D & 4D Printing; Cloud Computing; Big Data; Blockchain; Drone Technology and Biometrics.
- The company must be founded or cofounded by a woman with an equal or majority stake.
- The founder or co-founder must be over 18 years old and Kenyan
- Business models must have a clear focus on sustainability and alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- 3 months to less than 2 years of operations.
- Seeking support for proof of concept, customer, product, and business model development.
- Pre-revenue with early traction (users).
- Post revenue is an added advantage, with the creation of a new business module.
Interested applicants are to apply via online application.
Application Deadline: May 28, 2023Application ClosedOfficial link