Five women-led tech businesses have each received Ksh1 million in seed funding from Standard Chartered Bank Kenya following 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.
This year’s top 5 companies are Bena Care which provides home nursing services to people with life-limiting; illnesses across the country; Arbres Biotech – a company which focuses on technology transfer and capacity building in agricultural sector; Nature’s Touch which manufactures nature-based skin care products; Soul Food enterprises which serves Swahili cuisines only; and Taste Afrique which manufactures, distributes and sells natural food seasoning products and mixed spices.
The five winner were selected from a group of 180 companies which competed for the top prize.
It is estimated that in Kenya women constitute about 50 percent of the population and 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.
Each year the Women in Tech program through iBizAfrica Center, owned by iLab Africa, 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 Ksh1 million each in seed funding.
For the first time since inception of the Standard Chartered Women in Tech program the winners were selected and awarded virtually due to the ongoing Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
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.