Standard Chartered Women in Technology (SCWIT) through its Cohort 2 programme has awarded US$10,000 each to fund 5 women entrepreneurs in small- and medium-sized enterprises to scale up their business operations.
This happened during the graduation ceremony of 20 women entrepreneurs who were taken through a nine-month-long incubation programme that covers a whole range of business advisory, financial support services and a high-value mini-MBA programme managed by Ashesi University’s Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC).
The event was held on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at the head office of Standard Chartered Bank in Accra, and each of the granduates received a certificate.
Of the 20 entrepreneurs who were given an opportunity to pitch their businesses, five emerged as the most outstanding enterprises and received a seed grant with the dollar equivalent of GH¢90,500 each.
Speaking at the graduation, Secretary of Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, Angela Okai, mentioned that the incubation programme is the bank’s way of contributing to women’s empowerment and gender inclusion geared toward economic development and sustainability in the country.
“The SC Women in Technology incubator is in line with the bank’s commitment to drive sustainability by contributing to the economic development of Ghana, and is in tandem with our approach to sustainability. It offers women start-ups a unique opportunity to receive guidance from experienced and successful professionals. It aims to promote more diversity of thought and innovation, and provide more opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial excellence,” she said.
The Executive Director of the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC), Rukayatu Sanusi – a key partner of the programme, highlighted the importance of technology in business development, stating: “For us at the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre, technology is key to dealing with climate change, cyber-warfare, and the reorientation of job sectors to name but a few. And so, it is imperative that women reap the benefits and are involved in finding solutions.
“We have been working with Standard Chartered Bank Ghana for the past few years, running technological programmes for women who are working either in the technological space or using technology as an enabler to catalyse sustainable growth in their business. The programme’s aim is to incubate businesses with climate innovations, with the particular purpose of addressing gender barriers in the entrepreneurship ecosystem,” she said.
The five winners of the SC Women in Technology Programme pitching competition are: Bood Company Limited; Farmio Limited; H.A Farms; The Delse Shop; and Happy Eagle Tourism Management.
In an interview with the co-founder and CEO of Bood Company Limited, she shared how the grant will be used to develop her business.
“The grant will help me to invest in farm software that will enable me to manage my shareholder farmers and also monitor our fields remotely. It will also be invested in acquiring warehouse gadgets like warehouse monitors,” she said.
Bood Company Limited is an agribusiness specialised in the production of maize and other cash crops such as cashew and shea in rural communities.
Also, the CEO of Farmio Limited, Anaporka Adazabra, stated that SC Women in Tech Cohort 2 was very instrumental in helping her understand the need to ensure sustainability in agribusiness.
“As an agriculture and technology business, it is import to understand and know how we ensure sustainability in our business operations and the impact on the open environment,” she said.
Farmio Limited is an innovative agribusiness company with the main objective of maximising value for its key stakeholders who contribute toward our greenhouses.
Founder of H.A. Farms, Hannah Aidoo, shared that the farm was established to provide employment opportunities in communities and help improve the nutritional needs of consumers. She further stated how the grant will improve her business.
“We will use the grant to establish a fully automated drinking system for our birds to ease work on the farm; build software for digital marketing; and purchase technological improved poultry products to enhance our business,” she stated.
Additionally, founder and CEO of The Delse Shop – a Ghanaian beauty product company, Selasi Dzikunu, also said: “The programme has been very helpful to my business, in that it has opened my eyes to opportunities in the natural beauty industry. The grant will help us to employ artificial intelligence face-recognition software onto the company’s website to identify the skin types and problems of client and recommend the right products”.
Lastly, the CEO of Happy Eagle Tourism Management – a tour creation company, Bless Ama Satsi, also mentioned the programme helped to improve her confidence-level.
“This is my first time in start-up training for only women, and I must confess most the things we discussed were real and peculiar issues. Knowing that I was not alone on this journey and the problem I was facing as a woman in the entrepreneurial space also boosted my confidence,” she said.
The Standard Chartered Women in Technology Programme is currently running in eight markets within Africa and the Middle East – including Kenya, Nigeria, UAE and Pakistan. In Ghana, the programme is run in partnership with the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre – an Institute of Ashesi University.