Standard Chartered Bank and @iBizAfrica have announced the 6th cohort of the Women in Tech Incubator program. Themed ‘Leveraging Technology for Impact,’ the ceremony witnessed the felicitation of seven outstanding women-led businesses, each receiving a share of the USD 70,000 award. This event not only recognized their achievements but also highlighted the pivotal role of technology in shaping Kenya’s entrepreneurial landscape.
Launched in March 2023, the Women in Tech program attracted an impressive array of over 250 startups spanning sectors like agriculture, finance, transportation, health, and construction. From this pool, 15 exceptional women-led startups were selected for a rigorous 3-month incubation program. These entrepreneurs underwent intensive training in vital areas such as business idea conceptualization, strategy formulation, Internet of Things (IoT), marketing, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence, empowering them to transform innovative ideas into thriving businesses.
This initiative gains immense significance in light of the gender disparity prevalent in the African tech landscape. Recent studies reveal that only 14.6% of startups in Africa are founded by women. However, the Women in Tech Incubator program exemplifies that with appropriate mentorship, training, and support, the tech ecosystem can become more inclusive. Encouragingly, recent statistics indicate a slight uptick in female representation in tech roles, climbing from 29% to 30.9%. This program stands as a testament to bridging this gender gap.
The seven startups honored at the ceremony showcased exceptional prowess across three key criteria. Firstly, they addressed crucial socio-economic needs in Kenya, demonstrating their commitment to making a positive impact. Secondly, these innovative startups leveraged cutting-edge technologies including Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, and Biometrics. Lastly, their business models were meticulously aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reflecting a strong sense of social responsibility.
Meet the Trailblazers
Here are the seven remarkable women-led startups that stood out in this year’s Women in Tech Incubator program:
- Sign-With Us: A revolutionary startup paving the way for inclusive communication.
- Saidiwa: Innovators in the finance sector, redefining digital transactions for a seamless future.
- Imani Health: Transforming healthcare through innovative technological solutions for better patient outcomes.
- Know Learning Ltd: Visionaries in education technology, reshaping the future of learning.
- PanaCare: Healthcare pioneers dedicated to enhancing accessibility and quality of care.
- Rhea Soil Health Management: Environmental champions leveraging tech for sustainable agriculture and soil management.
- Instruct Africa: Trailblazers in education technology, reshaping learning experiences for the digital era.
Since its inception, the Women in Tech Incubator program has been a beacon of hope for aspiring female entrepreneurs. More than just a funding platform, it has provided mentorship, advisory services, coaching, networking opportunities, and access to seed capital. To date, this program has empowered over 64 women-led businesses, molding them into international standards. Notably, 32 startups have received over KES 1.2 million (USD 10,000) in seed funding, with the first five cohorts alone attracting over 2,000 applications.
In the words of Dr. Vincent Ogutu, Vice Chancellor at Strathmore University, “If women receive the right mentorship, training, and coaching, the tech ecosystem in Africa will thrive even more.” Let us heed this call, supporting and empowering women entrepreneurs, ensuring a future where their innovations shape the digital landscape of Kenya and beyond.