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StanChart eyes female tech entrepreneurs in new programme

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A StanChart branch in Nairobi.
A StanChart branch in Nairobi. PHOTO/COURTESY: NMG

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya (StanChart) has partnered with Strathmore University to launch a programme dubbed “Women in Tech Incubator” that seeks to nurture women led technology start-ups.

To this effect, the lender has reserved Ksh. 20 million to support the women led startups and will provide selected startups with mentorship and seed funding.

 “To date from cohort one, four out of five of the companies have received investor funding ranging from Sh5 million to Sh15 million, and their businesses have grown revenue and sales in double digits,” said StanChart Chief Executive Kariuki Ngari in a statement yesterday.

According to the lender, the bank will select ten start-ups through a demanding selection process that will undertake a 12-week cultivation period. From this pool, the top five finalists will benefit from seed funding of Ksh.1 million each.

The move by StanChart mirrors that of other lenders such as KCB who are ramping up efforts to promote financial inclusion for women led startups by either directly funding the enterprises or allocating loans to the women led businesses. KCB last week revealed that it had disbursed loans worth Ksh. 7.1 billion to fund 1,400 women owned enterprises since launching its Women Value Proposition programme.

According to the bank, the drive is meant to strengthen its diversity and inclusivity focus as part of its sustainability agenda by simplifying financial inclusion for women. Within the program, the women go through financial literacy training and capacity-building program in order to sensitize them on financial empowerment before the disbursement of loans.

“KCB is committed to making financial services more accessible and improving financial literacy. We are exploring possibilities that would reduce inequalities within the society and at the enable their economic development,” said Joshua Oigara, KCB Group CEO and MD when the bank made the announcement.

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