Standard Chartered Bank and @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University partnered to create the Standard Chartered Women in Technology Incubator. The project was envisioned to set up one of Africa’s leading women tech accelerator, aligning with calls for diversity in tech and opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills. The project supported women entrepreneurs in the technology sector and provided them with expertise and resources to grow into successful ventures.
What problem are you trying to solve?
The untapped potential of women and girls is gaining greater attention in Kenya enhance the motivation of including the need for gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls as a Sustainable Development Goal in Kenya. Women are marginalized in all spheres of life including, but not limited to, politics, business, education, culture and most recently, ICTs. In Kenya, most Women are hesitant to pursue entrepreneurship fields that are related to technology due to a number of reasons. Key contributors to this include lack of funding, lack of adequate support and fear of ICTs. In this Millennial age where technology is at its peak and giving opportunities for entrepreneurs to start business it is assumed that women will soon start being represented in the entrepreneurial sector of SET given there are now increasing numbers of female SET graduates these in turn, however, this is not the case in Kenya and most capable Women shy away from taking entrepreneurial roles in ICT.
What is your solution to this problem?
A timely and unique opportunity has dawned on industry and academia to work together to complement each other in building Africa’s economic and social development through entrepreneurship and capacity building for knowledge-driven economies. It is in line with this that @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University partnered with Standard Chartered Bank Limited to launch a The Women in Tech Incubator project. A project that combined world-class start-up support with local and international experience to provide Women led ICT start-ups with the most competitive and attractive start-up incubation program that focused on immersive learning, mentorship and coaching. Interested Women in Kenya were guided on how they could leverage on the power of technology so that they could sign up the program and gain skills that could help them pursue Entrepreneurship through the use of technology. The Women would be a driving force to provide employment as well as economic empowerment to the unemployed youth.
What is your latest update on your innovation?
Five women-led start-ups were awarded Kes 1 million each in seed funding to commence commercialization of their business ideas. The five start-ups, Africa Solutions, Maziwa Plus, HeriOnline, Zydii and Bismart, were declared the winners of the six month Standard Chartered Women in Tech Incubator program. Apart from the seed funding, the start-ups were given membership to the Kenya Women in Technology fellowship program and alumni network. An Alumni network of over 100 Women was formed to help other women pursue entrepreneurship through the use of technology. The program had a strong emphasizes on passing on skills and The start-ups are currently being monitored and evaluated and are expected to give weekly reports on how they are mentoring and passing on skills to the youth that they have learned from the program.