StanChart launches initiative to increase access to financial services for Women

StanChart launches initiative to increase access to financial services for Women

Standard Chartered Bank has launched the Women in Tech Access to Capital initiative aimed at increasing women’s participation in business.

The initiative will help women entrepreneurs access start-up financing and help grow their businesses.

As part of the Bank’s Futuremakers initiative, Standard Chartered Bank will initially provide Ksh.5 million revolving funds that will enable Women in Tech (WiT) alumni access interest free and collateral free loans. The loans will be capped at Ksh. 100,000 for working capital and Ksh.200,000 for capital expenditure with a 12-24 month repayment period.

Commenting during the announcement, Kariuki Ngari Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, said, “through our Women in Tech incubation program – now in its fourth cohort, we learnt that the biggest impediment of most women-led businesses was access to financial products and services.”

“Growing a business from its inception is critical especially for women in enabling poverty alleviation and helping build better livelihoods for their families and the society at large. By making it easier for women to access financial aid, we are giving them opportunities for them to succeed,” Mr. Kariuki added.

Financing Women in Tech

Most Women-led enterprises are unsuccessful in securing finance as a result of high collateral requirements and failure by lenders to understand their business opportunity.

The initiative will provide entrepreneurs access to interest free and collateral free loans.

Additionally, the bank has lined-up training and engagement sessions with the WiTs to drive banking behaviour and further understand the needs from the entrepreneurs as their businesses grow and develop.

“As a bank, we are alive to the fact that women economic empowerment is fundamental in helping achieve gender equality and sustainable development for the country,” Mr. Kariuki concluded.

Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica Research and Innovation Centre, Strathmore University said, “@iLabAfrica Centre is delighted to see startups that have passed through the Women in Tech Program experience business income growth of over 1100% in a period of over 2 years. These success stories show the progress of the program in the last four years and we look forward to growing more successful enterprises that have a global impact.”

Out of the top five companies from last year’s WiT incubation program, Bena Care which provides home nursing services to people with life-limiting illnesses across the country experienced a 1224 percent increase in revenue and in the process doubling its staff numbers since starting the incubation program.

Additionally, the company raised Ksh6.5 million as follow up funding in January 2021 from an international body for their placement platform in e-health funding.

Women in Tech program is part of the Bank’s community engagement strategy, Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, that aims at tackling the issue of inequality and promoting greater economic inclusion for young people in various communities and economies, with a focus on girls and women.

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