Developing changemakers: StanChart reinforces commitment to support women-owned businesses

Standard Chartered entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneurs in SC Women in Technology Incubator Programme receive GH¢550,000 to scale up their businesses

Standard Chartered Bank Ghana PLC has celebrated the graduation of 20 entrepreneurs of its Women in Technology Incubator programme. The women entrepreneurs who make up the 3rd cohort participated in the 4-month long incubator aimed at empowering women-led start-ups and providing them with the resources and support to thrive.

At the graduation ceremony, five (5) businesses which topped the Incubator’s rigorous pitch process were awarded seed funding of GHS110,000 each to invest into their businesses.

The Standard Chartered Women in Tech Incubator (SC Women in Tech) programme in Ghana has been running since 2020 and was designed to help address gender disparity in the technology sector and encourage the use of technology to tackle social challenges faced by communities. The programme is run in partnership with Ashesi University’s Ghana Climate Innovation Centre.

The choice by Standard Chartered to support female entrepreneurs is crucial. In Ghana and other countries within sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that female-led businesses constitute more than 60% of the MSME market in the region and therefore providing support to female entrepreneurs is instrumental to the continent and Ghana’s growth.

Three years on, the incubator has been very impactful with 59 female-led businesses going through the incubation programme and 15 of these businesses have received the equivalent of USD150,000 in grant funding to scale their businesses. Other achievements of the incubator include:

  • Created about 800 jobs through full time and contract employment.
  • Businesses have generated a cumulative revenue of USD 225,000.
  • Supported entrepreneurs from 10 of the 16 regions in Ghana.
  • Distribution of businesses range from agribusiness, ecommerce, waste management, construction, healthcare among others.

These five businesses who received the grant funding in the 3rd Cohort can best be described as changemakers and their profiles are highlighted below:

VirTutor Online

Laura Pepera founder of VirTutor Online started her business during the Covid-19 pandemic and the surge in demand for online tutoring in countries all over the world. Motivated to support the education industry in Ghana and noticing the gap in the market, Laura immediately started to develop a unique tutoring experience that hopes to benefit thousands in Ghana and beyond. The business connects students with top-tier tutors to enhance their academic performance, transcending the barriers of traditional in-person tutoring. Their platform offers help in a range of curriculums such as the IGCSE, WASSCE, admissions tests, and Ghanaian languages for individuals to broaden their cultural horizons.

WonderspacED is a visionary educational content creation and publishing company that is dedicated to inspiring children through innovative teaching and learning approaches. With a core objective of fostering exploration and discovery within the learning environment, WonderspacED aims to create captivating educational experiences, spaces, and content. In the words of their CEO, Natalie Fordwor “our goal is to infuse wonder and excitement into every learning experience. We believe that we are raising innovators who will have a keen understanding of the African context and steward its resources in a way that creates lasting global impact.”

Esse Studios is owned and run by Naa Kukuokor Owoo. The business is a dynamic media production company specializing in the creation and production of diverse digital content. Esse Studios caters to a wide range of needs, including marketing, education, training, awareness campaigns, and personal projects and combines creativity and technical excellence to deliver content that resonates with audiences.

In developing countries like Ghana, there are many parts where young teenage girls are from households that are unable to afford sanitary pads and other health essentials. Kodu Technology is an innovative company dedicated to the production of eco-friendly sanitary pads using banana and plantain fibers. By harnessing the sustainable properties of these natural materials, Kodu Technology aims to provide an environmentally conscious solution to the menstrual hygiene needs of women. Through careful research and development, they have created sanitary pads that are not only biodegradable but also offer superior comfort and absorbency. Kodu Technology is led by Umar Farouk Mubaraka and business hopes to empower 30,000 females in junior and senior high schools by providing them with affordable and quality reproductive healthcare essentials and education.

Legalfind is an all-encompassing legal search engine and practice solution software that offers comprehensive research capabilities in case law, legislative research, and particularly focuses on corporate and transaction law. In addition to providing access to relevant precedents and academic study tools, Legalfind also aims to developlegal practice management software in the future, making it a versatile and indispensable tool for legal professionals. Legalfind is owned by Lucie Blay and the business prides itself as building the central point of research and management systems for institutions by providing a user-friendly legal research catalogue and effective management systems for the Ghanaian and in the future, the African market.

These businesses and others that have gone through the incubator are indeed changemakers. Their innovation and technology cater for more than 22,000 households across the country. And while the term technology gives an imagination of high powered and new innovations, this is not always the case.  In some instances, technology is a simple innovation that has made the entrepreneur’s business operation more effective or that is proving key intervention for a particular community.

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