15 startups selected for women in tech incubation project

Makabelo Malumane (centre), Managing Director, Head of Transaction Banking for the East Africa business at Standard Chartered Bank, with winners of Women in Tech Cohort 6 programme at Strathmore University on June 20, 23.

Photo credit: Kennedy Amungo I Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The Bank, in partnership with @iBizAfrica Strathmore University, launched the 15 startups that will undergo 12 weeks of business incubation under the Women in Tech programme.
  • The incubation will culminate in seven of the businesses receiving $10,000 each in seed funding to grow their businesses.

A total of 15 women-led startups have been shortlisted to participate in this year’s Standard Chartered Bank’s Women in Tech programme.

The Bank, in partnership with @iBizAfrica Strathmore University, has launched the 15 startups that will undergo 12 weeks of business incubation under the Women in Tech programme. The incubation will culminate in seven of the businesses receiving $10,000 each in seed funding to grow their businesses.

Standard Chartered Women in Tech (WiT) supports female-led entrepreneurial teams with business management training, mentoring and seed funding. This year’s top 15 teams were selected from a pool of over 250 startups that applied from different sectors, including AgriTech, Fintech, healthcare industry, mobility tech, disability tech and the construction industry.

This is an increase from the previous cohorts, where 10 businesses were incubated and five startups received funding.

The shortlisting criteria was rigorous and required the selected teams to demonstrate capacity in execution, showcase potential to solve socioeconomic challenges in Kenya, have a balanced skill set (team lead, business development, product development and marketing), while leveraging technology.

Speaking during the event at Strathmore University, Vice Chancellor Vincent Ogutu commended those shortlisted for what he termed “a job well done”.

Dr Ogutu said women can always be counted on, hence the need for them to be empowered and supported. “To empower society, the best way is to empower women as they can always be counted on by their families and the community at large,” he said.

Ms Regina Mukiri, Standard Chartered Regional Head, Community Impact and Engagement Kenya, congratulated the winners, noting the programme has grown in leaps and bounds since it was started seven years ago.

“I wish to congratulate the 15 women-led enterprises that made it out of a pool of over 250 startups and the rigorous shortlisting criteria to join this forward-thinking, efficient and transformative Women in Tech Cohort 6 programme. As Standard Chartered, we are delighted to have scaled the number from the previous cohorts, where 10 businesses were incubated,” said Ms Mukiri on Tuesday last week.

Research findings

She noted the bank’s continued and increased funding of this programme is a result of research that indicated that female-led startups in Africa attracted less funding in 2022 compared to male-led startups.

“Women-led enterprises were more challenged by societal bottlenecks and financing limits, so we are pleased to contribute to closing the gap through increased capacity building and focused funding toward female-led enterprises. I therefore encourage the beneficiaries to maximise this opportunity as we empower them to champion more diversity in technology and advance entrepreneurial and leadership excellence,” she added.

Dr Joseph Sevilla, Director of @iBizAfrica Strathmore University, noted the Women in Tech programme has been designed to bridge the finance and capacity building gap that women entrepreneurs face.

“We are proud to have partnered with Standard Chartered Bank to further champion this cause through an additional cohort. I, therefore, also congratulate the successful beneficiaries and wish to encourage them to take advantage of this programme as it will equip them with the necessary coping mechanisms and professional skills through training, mentorship and financial literacy that will resultantly contribute to their survival and success,” said Dr Sevilla.

Doctor Joseph Sevilla, director at IbizAfrica Strathmore University (centre), with winners of Women in Tech Cohort 6 programme at Sratmore University on June 20, 23

Photo credit: Kennedy Amungo I Nation Media Group

He added Strathmore University is confident that the financial contribution worth $175,000 (Sh24.5 million) towards this year’s cohort will go a long way in uplifting the participation of marginalised groups, tackle inequality and promote greater economic inclusion for women entrepreneurs in our country.

“I appeal to more men, as they constitute the majority of the workforce in the technology ecosystem, to offer more support to women in the computing tech and engineering space by taking up mentorship roles and opening doors for them,” he said.

To align with the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, Embracing Equity in Women-Led Businesses, the business incubation training has been modeled around emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data, while additionally integrating the fundamentals of business idea conceptualisation, strategy, formulation, and marketing, which will be key in moving businesses from incubation to sustainable ventures.

The Women in Tech Incubator programme seeks to be digital by design and supporting female entrepreneurs with technology to grow their businesses.


The 15 enterprises include Ecorich Solutions Limited, a startup that provides cheap fertiliser; Imani Health Wallet, which enables people to save specifically for healthcare; Sol Active (fusion), a web platform where landlords can list their empty retail space for free, and brands can book it easily; Saidiwa (squad) Rides, a hailing app that aims to bridge the gap between unreliable public transportation and relatively expensive digital taxis; and Ento Farm, a biotechnology company that produces a protein-rich animal feed based on dried, inactive insects that are produced through the fermentation of organic waste.

Also in the shortlist is AgriTech Analytics, a company building innovation capabilities of startups; Techtenum Minds LTD, an E-learning platform that aspires to raise subject matter experts through bridging the practical skill gap between traditional academic curriculum and latest job market needs; MyAfya Africa, a mental health organisation and digi-health company dedicated to revolutionising the accessibility and availability of mental health services; Rhea Soil Health Management Limited, an IOT soil analysis device that allows soil testing and agricultural extension services to smallholder farmers; and Know Learning Limited, a platform that enables parents to participate in their children’s learning by partnering with teachers and schools to improve outcomes.

Also shortlisted is Sign With Us, a sign language training institution based in Meru and online, Acre-insights, a firm that uses drones and satellites to collect high-resolution data on crop growth and development, soil moisture, and other key indicators.

Instruct Africa provides affordable legal solutions to professionals in the informal sector, Panacare, a healthcare company that provides affordable and accessible healthcare services through telemedicine and Tynka Global, a platform that connects entrepreneurs, experts, and investors, simplifying the process of forming partnerships.

Nancy Mwangi, the founder of My Afya Africa, could not hide her joy after making it in the top 15 shortlist. “I am happy beyond words can say. This is my second time to apply and I’m happy that I have been shortlisted. Last year I did not make it to the cut. It is my hope that I will make it to the seven finalists,” she said.

Since its inception, the programme has trained 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.

A total of 50 startups have participated to date and 25 have been awarded over Sh1.2 million ($10,000) in seed funding. They have so far gone through the incubation process with the first five cohorts attracting over 2,000 applications.

Among the benefits enjoyed by the winders include 12 weeks of an immersive learning experience, access to a leading network of coaching experts, access to networking opportunities, personalised mentorship sessions to address their unique business needs and an opportunity to join a supportive Women in Tech Alumni Network.

The top five finalists also get Sh1,000,000 equity-free grant seed funding and nine months ongoing support from Standard Chartered and @iBizAfrica to assist with the go-to market and scale.