Standard Chartered Bank Launches Cohort 7 of Women in Tech Program with Focus on Sustainability

Cohort 7 of the Standard Chartered Bank Women in Tech Program was yesterday launched, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to empower female entrepreneurs in Kenya’s tech industry. This launch is part of the collaborative initiative between Standard Chartered Kenya and @iBizAfrica – Strathmore University, known as the Women in Tech Incubator program. The program’s focus on sustainability is timely and reflective of a global shift towards more environmentally and socially responsible business practices. The initiative is not just about funding; it’s about building a sustainable future, one female entrepreneur at a time. Read about Cohort 6’s graduation here.

This year’s theme, “Empowering Women for a Sustainable Future,” perfectly encapsulates the essence of the initiative. The launch event at Strathmore University was graced by notable figures, including Dr. Catherine Adeya, a board member of Standard Chartered, Makabelo Malumane, Head of Transaction Banking in Kenya and East Africa at Standard Chartered, Dr. Vincent Ogutu, Vice Chancellor of Strathmore University, and Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director of the @iBizAfrica Incubation Centre. Their presence underscored the significant backing and belief in the program’s objectives: to pivot businesses towards sustainability while leveraging technology.

Cohort 7 brings together 15 female entrepreneurs for a 12-week incubation period, focusing on business skills enhancement, improving access to finance, and expanding networks. The program will culminate in seven entrepreneurs receiving seed capital of USD 10,000 each, a testament to the bank’s commitment to nurturing growth and innovation in the tech industry, with a keen eye on sustainability. This initiative comes at a critical time when the global narrative is heavily tilted towards sustainability, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the urgency for resilient and sustainable business models.

The situation in Kenya presents a unique challenge and opportunity. A recent survey by the Nairobi Securities Exchange revealed a glaring gap in the adoption of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards, with only 15 out of 61 companies adhering to these crucial guidelines. This reveals a significant disparity in sustainable business practices, further compounded by challenges such as limited awareness, regulatory loopholes, financial constraints, and a prevailing short-term focus. However, the Women in Tech program aims to bridge this gap, emphasizing the need for sustainable business practices and the pivotal role women play in achieving this goal.

Makabelo Malumane’s statement during Cohort 7 launch event resonated deeply with the program’s vision. “When women succeed, so do our economies,” she remarked, highlighting the undeniable link between women’s empowerment and sustainable economic development. The partnership between Standard Chartered and @iBizAfrica-Strathmore University is a testament to the power of collaboration in addressing complex challenges. Malumane’s enthusiasm about the program’s impact on society and the economy at large is a beacon of hope for aspiring female entrepreneurs in Kenya and beyond.

The integration of ESG principles offers tangible benefits, including enhanced resource utilisation, increased productivity, and the ability to attract funding. For women entrepreneurs, particularly those leveraging technology, this approach not only reduces operational costs but also opens up new revenue streams and improves access to talent and funding. The Women in Tech program, since its inception in 2017, has been at the forefront of championing these ideals. With over 64 women-led businesses trained and more than 32 startups benefiting from seed funding, the program’s impact on Kenya’s business landscape is palpable. The success stories emerging from this initiative underscore the vast potential of integrating sustainability into the business models of the future.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button

Discover more from Techish Kenya

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading