10 women-led businesses picked in Women in Tech Incubator programme

  • 58 per cent of all MSMEs in Africa are women-owned, which contribute 20 per cent to the overall GDP
  • Women-led Micro-Enterprises (W-MSME) are deemed 34 per cent less profitable than men
  • The teams were shortlisted based on performance in the programme’s 100 points criteria
  • The 12-week mentorship will see the teams offered expert training in the areas of business idea conceptualization, strategy formulation and marketing 

According to the World Bank, 58 per cent of all African MSMEs are women-owned, contributing 20 per cent to the overall GDP.

However, Women-led Micro-Enterprises (W-MSME) are deemed 34 per cent less profitable than men, while 68 per cent lack adequate access to finance.

It is against this backdrop that Standard Chartered Bank and @iBizAfrica – a business incubator under the umbrella of @iLabAfrica, a Centre of Excellence in ICT innovation and Development based at Strathmore University – have partnered to create the Standard Chartered Women in Tech (WiT) Incubator, now in its 5th cohort.

Read: Women-led businesses can spur African growth

Each year, the programme supports ten small and medium Kenyan female-led entrepreneurial businesses by offering mentorship, advisory, coaching, networking opportunities, access to seed capital and investor forums that help mould their businesses to international standards.

The mentorship takes 12 weeks where the teams are offered expert training in the areas of business idea conceptualization, strategy formulation and marketing, which is key in moving the businesses from incubation to sustainable ventures.

The ten businesses shortlisted from more than 300 applications will compete for up to Ksh1 million in seed funding. Since its inception, 30 start-ups have participated, 15 have been awarded Ksh1 million each in seed funding, and 41 businesses have so far gone through the incubation process, with the first four cohorts attracting 1,150 applications.

Read: Standard Chartered incubator series for women in technology kicks off 

Director of Strathmore University‘s @iBizAfrica, Dr Joseph Sevilla, noted that through the incubator programme female-led startups in the ICT sector are envisaged to transform Kenya through innovation.

“It’s remarkable how far we have been able to come on this journey of nurturing women-led entrepreneurial visions from the idea stage to marketable and scalable ventures through our coaching and mentoring sessions on entrepreneurial skills. This program, which is in its 5th cohort, has helped transform Kenyan women-led startups into fully-fledged businesses that are thriving and contributing to the country’s economy,”  he added.

Joyce Kibe, Head Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing Kenya and EA said,

“The programme is designed to help address gender disparity in the technology sector and to use technology to tackle social challenges faced by communities. They are an important part of our entrepreneurship offering within Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, our global initiative to tackle inequality and promote economic inclusion and aligns with our stand to lift participation by creating opportunities for women to contribute to the society and economy.”

Selection criteria

The teams were shortlisted based on performance in the programme’s 100 points criteria, such as female founder eligibility above 18 years. Teams of at least three demonstrated capacity to execute: clearly defined roles, balanced skill set (team lead, business development, product development and marketing).

Addressing problems and solution innovation, availability of Market opportunity and social impact in Kenya.

Below are the ten teams selected for the 5th cohort.

  1. GoBEBA Everything Ltd: GoBEBA is an on-demand retailer (Q-commerce) of essential household goods, delivering your daily needs e.g. cooking gas, water, drinks, snacks, and other groceries, to your doorstep in under an hour. They operate a network of dark stores (micro-fulfilment centres) around popular areas to ensure that orders get to you quickly and at reduced costs. They use machine learning for demand planning and delivery optimization.
  2. SowPrecise: A farm management system tailor-made for African farmers to communicate with farm labourers and help them remotely track farming activities.
  3. Learning Differently Limited: A learning intervention platform providing affordable and accessible interventions to learning disabilities using the internet space. The interventions include a free course for parents, teachers, and caregivers. The course will provide information about learning differences and the gifts of the different minds and will also equip them with practical things that they can do to support the different learners at school and at home.
  4. Keyara Botanics: A natural skincare shop that creates products using naturally sourced oils such as Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Coconut oil, and Macadamia Oil from across African farmers, revoked for the healing qualities.
  5. SIAGO: An e-commerce fashion store that makes and sells unique, luxury, free-size dresses, including Kaftans, Abayas, Boubou dresses, Deras, Free dresses, Kimonos, coverups, targeting the over 30-year-old, plus-size, career woman.
  6. ON MY MIND: A Women’s startup supporting breastfeeding moms with low milk supply to meet their breastfeeding goals while also promoting their health and wellness by value addition to organic and wholesome products like herbal teas and lactation cookies.
  7. DigiPath Africa: A Digital Marketing agency that helps organizations and individuals understand digital marketing through training sessions, reach a wider audience through digital advertising, and strategize how to do their digital marketing campaigns and how to execute them. They also create engaging content that will drive action through content creation sessions and hire the right digital talent by being one of their interview panellists during their interview sessions.
  8. Aurora Health Systems: A wearable medical device that uses wireless technology to monitor heart rate and abnormal ECG findings continuously.  Data is generated in real-time and linked to smartphones for a period of 21 days, thus preventing acute cardiac conditions.
  9. Pure Purple: A footwear and accessories brand based out of Nairobi, Kenya, passionate about premium value addition on local leather, sustainability, scale-ability and community impact.
  10. Sello Designs: A social business that designs and creates sustainable and timeless bags using leather and kitenge fabric. Their designs never go out of fashion, and you will be able to use our products for a long time.

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