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5 women-led tech firms awarded Sh1 M each

Five Companies led y female entrepreneurs have bagged the fourth cohort of the Women in Tech Incubator (WIT) Programme, a project by Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) in collaboration with iBizAfrica-Strathmore University.

The five companies, Ufasiri Halisi SLI Innovations Limited, Ecila Films, Mandevu Beardcare, Viwanda Africa Group and Runnovate, were selected from a group of 10 participants shortlisted from 111 applicants.

Each of the firms was given Sh1 million seed funding as part of the award.

The winners were chosen on the basis of scalability technology adoption, entrepreneurial and leadership experience.

Runnovate provides businesses with virtual assistants to help save time and cut operating costs.

On the other hand, Ecole Films produces films of authentic African stories. At the same time, Viwanda Africa Group runs a platform for aircraft maintenance and spare part planning, and Mandevu Beardcare owns a beard care product line.

Ufasiri Halisi provides assistive technology for people with impaired hearing.

The programme’s theme was “Accelerating the digital economy through women-themed businesses.”

It is aimed at bridging the gap in the tech ecosystem between men and women-owned businesses, shaping them to international standards.

The companies received coaching, training and mentorship from key experts, business leaders, professionals and experienced mentors.

WIT also offered networking opportunities, access to seed capital and other investor forums.

Application for the programme was restricted only to tech-based businesses and those that leveraged rising technologies.

The businesses also had to be small to medium-sized enterprises.

“Sub-Sahara Africa has a substantial number of women entrepreneurs, but female-led tech start-ups only account for a very few of these,” said StanChart Kenya CEO Kariuki Ngari.

iBiz Director Dr Joseph Sevilla noted that they had worked with ten businesses participating in the program.

The programme saw impressive women-led businesses increase the number of staff, conduct product enhancements, receive fundings, and obtain new clients.

It also aims at tackling the issue of inequality by promoting the inclusion of young women.

41 entrepreneurs have so far gone through the programme, with 30 being start-ups.

A total of 15 participating businesses have each secured Sh1 million seed funding.

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