Five tech firms led by female entrepreneurs won the fourth cohort of the Women in Tech Incubator (WIT) Programme, a project by Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) in partnership with iBizAfrica-Strathmore University.
Ecila Films, Ufasiri Halisi SLI Innovations Limited, Viwanda Africa Group, Mandevu Beardcare and Runnovate were selected from a group of 10 participants shortlisted from 111 applicants.
Each of the companies was given Ksh1 million seed funding as part of the award.
The winners were selected on the basis of scalability technology adoption, entrepreneurial and leadership experience.An image showing the 5 winners of the Women in Tech 4th Cohort.
Ecila Films produces films of authentic African stories, Viwanda Africa Group runs a platform for aircraft maintenance and spare part planning while Mandevu Beardcare owns a beard care product line.
Runnovate provides businesses with virtual assistants to help save time and reduce operating costs. Ufasiri Halisi provides assistive technology for people with impaired hearing.
The programme was themed, Accelerating the digital economy through women themed businesses. It aimed at bridging the gap in the tech ecosystem between men and women-owned businesses, shaping them to international standards.
The firms received training, coaching and mentorship from key experts, business leaders, experienced mentors and professionals. WIT further offered networking opportunities, access to seed capital and investor forums.
Application for the programme was restricted to tech-based businesses and those that leveraged emerging technologies. The businesses also had to be small to medium-sized enterprises
“Sub-Sahara Africa has a substantial number of women entrepreneurs yet female-led tech startups only account for a very few of these,” stated StanChart Kenya CEO Kariuki Ngari.
iBiz Director Dr. Joseph Sevilla stated that they had worked with ten businesses participating in the program.
This saw impressive women-led businesses increase the number of staff, carry out product enhancements, receive fundings and obtain new clients.
The program aims at tackling the issue of inequality by promoting the inclusion of young women.
41 businesses have so far gone through the programme - 30 of these were start-ups.
A total of 15 participating firms have each secured Ksh1 million seed funding.A screenshot of Ecila Films CEO, Joan Kabugu (left) receives news of her victory from Standard Chartered Bank CEO and MD, Kariuki Ngari over a video conference call.
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