Strathmore University based business incubator @iBizAfrica, Standard Chartered Bank has awarded five local women-led tech-based businesses with Ksh 1 million each to help scale their businesses.
The grant follows the successful completion of the third cohort of a tech incubation program launched in 2017 by the Bank in partnership with iLab Africa – a division of Strathmore University.
Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Chief Executive Kariuki Ngari said that the Women in Tech program aspires to support and nurture entrepreneurship, technology, and business growth for women.
“Often, people ask why the focus on women and girls. The reality is that in Kenya and globally, women and girls fall behind in many aspects of development and equality,” he points out.
“Yet, women constitute 51 percent of our population, provide 80 percent of Kenya’s farm labour and manage 40 percent of the country’s smallholder farms; yet own only 1 percent of agricultural land and receive just 10 percent of available credit.
“This is why there still needs to be continued focus on supporting this half of our population. As a bank, we want to do our part in empowering women and girls.”
Who are the top 5 winning companies
Soul Food– Founded by Chanya Mwanyota, Soul food is a Swahili Restaurant serving Swahili cuisine and Nigeria cuisine that has led to the creation of six virtual restaurants where they are able to provide hassle-free, fast and efficient quality diverse meals.
Taste Afrique– Founded by Anzazi Kiti and Winnie Chiwai, Taste Afrique is a manufacturing company that distributes and sells natural food seasoning products and mixed spices called Chibundiro.
BenaCare– Founded by Naomi Monari, Benacare provides home nursing services to people with life-limiting illnesses across the country.
Nature’s Touch– Founded by Diana Ochola and Caroline Ngugi, the two are passionate about adopting natural personal care regimes in their lives. They provide health and wellness information to the public, deliver natural personal care products that are designed for individuals and their families to meet their daily grooming needs.
Arbes Biotech– Founded by Rachael Akeyo, the company is an agricultural startup that generates seedlings using culture technology to provide quality seedlings of various plants to clients and partners in East Africa.
The five winners were selected from a group of 180 companies that competed for the top prize.
Each year the Women in Tech program through @iBizAfrica Center trains more than 10 small and medium businesses leveraging on technology by offering mentorship, advisory, coaching, networking opportunities, access to seed capital and investor forums that help mold their businesses to international standards.
30 startups have participated to date, and 15 have been awarded Kshs one million each in seed funding.
The program is part of the Bank’s community engagement strategy, Futuremakers by Standard Chartered that aims to tackle the issue of inequality and to promote greater economic inclusion for young people in various communities and economies, with a focus on girls and women.