By Dipo Olowookere
Five female business owners in Nigeria will receive $10,000 each from Standard Chartered as part of the lender’s strategies to support and promote the economic and social development of women in Nigeria through innovation or technology led entrepreneurship.
The bank recently launched the SC Women in Tech Incubator, an initiative focusing on capacity building for women-owned small enterprises.
The financial institution said it sees this scheme as a great opportunity to support greater diversity in gender representation within technology entrepreneurship for women in the country.
The Standard Chartered Women in Tech programme will target female-led entrepreneurial teams and provide them with training, mentorship and seed funding.
There will be an open call for participation leading to a final selection of up for the top 10 contestants with the most compelling ideas. At the end of the training period, up to five winners will be chosen and each winner will be awarded up to $10,000 to invest in their business.
The launch of the programme included an all-women panel discussion led by Olga Arara-Kimani, Regional Head, Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing, Standard Chartered Bank along with Adenike Adeyemi, Executive Director, FATE Foundation; Bode Abifarin, COO of Flutter Wave Incorporated; Odun Eweniyi, CoFounder, PiggyVest; Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, Founder, Pearls Africa Youth Foundation; and Oreoluwa Lesi, Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre who moderated the session.
During the event, the panel discussed the importance of establishing sustainable businesses that meet specific pertinent socio-economic demands; demystifying technology and making it accessible to more women and youths as part of economic empowerment.
The panel also highlighted the need for more collaboration between sectors; proper profiling of businesses for access to funds and specialist support; hands-on training and mentoring.
Commenting on the launch, Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing, Nigeria and West Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, Dayo Aderugbo, said, “We are pleased to launch the SC Women in tech Incubator in Nigeria today. We are optimistic about the impact this programme will have on the socio-economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
“The support the beneficiaries will get will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the businesses while creating employment for more women and youths in the country. We are excited about the endless growth opportunities and ripple effect impact this growth will have on the economy.
“This initiative builds on the Bank’s track record of increasing women’s access to entrepreneurial finance, employability and supporting adolescent girls and women through financing and capacity building.”
The launch of the programme in Nigeria follows a successful rollout of a similar initiative in the USA, Kenya, Pakistan and more recently in the UAE by Standard Chartered.
The bank first launched the programme to support women in technology in 2014 at the City College of New York, where it created the Women Entrepreneurs Resource Centre.
The US program includes a dedicated workspace, mentorship, coursework and access to an extensive network designed to support entrepreneurs navigating the challenges of starting a business.
Nigeria is the fifth market selected by the Bank to launch the Women in Tech programme.
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