What you need to know:
- The lucky winners were part of the bank’s fifth Women in Tech programme. They were announced this Wednesday at the financial institution’s headquarters in Nairobi.
- Seasoned media personality Terryanne Chebet was one of the victors; her company, Keyara Botanics, deals in organic skin care oils that are sourced from Africa.
Five women-led startups have received Sh1.2 million each from Standard Chartered Bank in equity-free seed funding.
The lucky winners were part of the bank’s fifth Women in Tech programme. They were announced this Wednesday at the financial institution’s headquarters in Nairobi.
Seasoned media personality Terryanne Chebet was one of the victors. Her company, Keyara Botanics, deals in organic skin care oils that are sourced from Africa. Kaimuri Karauki, also a winner, came up with Learning Differently, a platform that helps children with learning disabilities to access affordable interventions.
Melanie Hapisu, the founder of DigiPath Africa, was recognised for coming up with a solution that helps brands generate leads from digital marketing.
Phelesia Oketch of Sello Designs secured funding for her social business that makes sustainable leather and kitenge bags, while Alice Muhuhu, the founder of Aurora Health Systems, was feted for developing a medical device that monitors patients’ heart rates outside hospitals.
Speaking during the function, Robert Yawe, one of the judges who selected the five women, revealed the criteria that they used to make their decision.
“As earlier stated, the problem is more important than the solution. For the winners, we considered whether the challenge they were addressing was big enough and whether they had a team that would focus on solving that problem. Thirdly, has the solution shown traction? Is there someone willing to pay for the solution,’’ Mr Yawe said.
The Women in Tech Programme was initiated by Standard Chartered Bank in March 2017 to celebrate International Women's Day. In collaboration with Strathmore University’s iLabAfrica, nine women-owned businesses are incubated for about 12 weeks before five are awarded seed funding.
Kariuki Ngari, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, said the programme, which received over 300 applications, was keen on preparing women to leverage technology for their businesses.
“The skills’ development component of the programme is the most important aspect. We are very deliberate about empowering women economically by ensuring that they have the necessary skills to grow their businesses. This is even in line with Kenya Kwanza’s digital economy transformation. So the women are actually ready for the new world,’’ Mr Ngari stated.