Standard Chartered Bank has announced the winners for Cohort three of the SC Women in Technology Incubator Programme (SC WIT). The Five women-owned businesses that emerged victorious in Cohort 3 are walking away with $50,000 seed funding after an intense and robust training programme, with each business getting $10,000. The SC WIT Incubator Programme is designed to identify, develop, and support women-led businesses in the technology sector. Through the incubator programme, participants receive training, mentorship, and access to resources to help them scale their businesses and drive innovation.
Speaking at the awards and graduation event, Standard Chartered Bank CEO, Sonny Zulu stated that the SC WIT programme is part of the Bank’s bold and ambitious stand to lift the participation of women and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the economy in order to build more sustainable communities.
“The SC WIT programme is part of our broader global initiative – Futuremakers by Standard Chartered which is our global initiative to tackle social and economic inequality by promoting greater economic inclusion. When we launched SC WIT in November 2020, we were responding to the call for the much-needed support for small and medium enterprises who are now increasingly playing a critical role in growing the country’s economy. This initiative equally supports government’s efforts to grow SMEs as evidenced by the formation of the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development,” Mr Zulu said
The Standard Chartered CEO revealed that five women owned businesses from cohort 3 will receive $50,000 from the Bank as seed capital. “It is a proud moment for us at Standard Chartered, as we witness the success of the programme – over the last three years we have spent ZMW 8.7million on the programme. And on cohort three alone we invested ZMW 2.5million. The huge investment and success bare testament to the Bank’s aim to empower people to learn earn and grow.” He explained.
Mr Zulu highlighted that SC WIT Cohort 3 had businesses across various sectors such as; education, health, agriculture, events management, finance, and ICT all of which have seen the need to add technology to their for growth. “It is exciting to see women led business in various sectors embracing technology and innovation. As a bank we are passionate about technology ourselves, we have led the way by launching Zambia’s first-ever end-to-end digital bank which now provides our clients with access to over 70 banking services at the click of a button. that is the convenience that technology provides,”he said.
Speaking at the same event, BongoHive Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Simunza Muyangana stated that the SC Women in Tech Incubator Program is an undeniable answer to the needs of many female-led businesses as it helps in creating a level playing field for startups through funding, digital skills development and business coaching support.
“Despite the growing proportion of female founders on the continent, in many cases, women still receive the short end of the stick when it comes to accessing funding to support their businesses. As an implementing partner we are grateful to Standard Chartered Bank Zambia for their continued commitment over the years to ensuring that female entrepreneurs are availed the necessary support they need in their entrepreneurial journey,” he said.
Meanwhile Minister of Small Medium & Enterprises Development, Honourable Elias Mubanga, applauded the Bank’s commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs and providing them with the tools needed to succeed in a male-dominated sectors.
“I am delighted that Zambian women entrepreneurs are at the heart of this programme, SMEs are critical players of any economy. Many women are involved in entrepreneurship; however, the majority operate micro and small-scale enterprises. That is why the Government of Zambia – under the new dawn government of His Excellency president Hakainde Hichilema – has developed deliberate policies and interventions to empower and support women in their business ventures to that they can thrive and grow,” The Minister explained.
Mr Mubanga added that the new dawn administration remains committed to addressing the challenges that business owners face. He commended Standard Chartered for having invested ZMW 8.7 million on the SC WIT programme to help bridge the gender gap and create opportunities for women.
Source: Standard Chartered Bank Zambia