Village Capital has joined forces with Standard Chartered Bank to bridge the gender financing gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This collaboration has ushered in a pioneering financing facility dedicated to investing in alumni of the Bank’s Women in Tech program, focusing primarily on early-stage, impact-focused start-ups led by women.
The initiative is a direct response to the persistent challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in securing investment and financing opportunities, a disparity that is significantly pronounced when compared to their male counterparts. Heather Matranga, Vice President of Impact Investments at Village Capital, expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership, emphasizing the organization’s decade-long commitment to developing equitable investment processes. “Through this pilot facility, we intend to provide innovative and catalytic financing that truly meets the needs of women entrepreneurs across a range of business models and markets,” Matranga stated.
Marking a significant milestone in this partnership, Village Capital announced its inaugural investment in two trailblazing women-led start-ups. Bena Care, a Kenyan enterprise, has been awarded USD 75,000 for its commendable efforts in providing affordable clinical and supportive care for patients with life-limiting illnesses in the comfort of their homes. Similarly, Mighty Finance, a Zambian fintech start-up focused on facilitating access to capital for primarily women-led businesses, also received USD 75,000.
Joyce Kibe, Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing at Standard Chartered, highlighted the impact of their Women in Tech program, which has trained over 70 women-led businesses and provided substantial support in scaling their operations to international standards. “We believe by supporting more women in business, we are stimulating more robust and resilient economic activity,” Ms. Kibe noted.
Since its inception, the Women in Tech program has seen six cohorts with 64 women-led businesses participating, and 32 of these ventures have been awarded grants totalling KES 44 million. This new partnership not only reinforces Standard Chartered and Village Capital’s commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in impact investing, but it also positions them as pivotal players in shaping a more inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial landscape.
With Village Capital’s expertise in unlocking capital for impact-driven start-ups in underserved markets and Standard Chartered Bank’s dedication to empowering women entrepreneurs, this collaboration stands as a beacon of hope and progress in the global entrepreneurial sphere. The combined efforts of these two entities are set to catalyze a wave of innovation and growth led by women, poised to address both local and global challenges.