Two startups based in Kenya and Zambia will receive $150,000 (Ksh 23.6m) in funding from Village Capital to help scale their solutions and address the capital challenges faced by women-run startups.
Through a partnership with Standard Chartered, Village Capital targets to pilot a financing facility through the bank’s Women in Tech program alumni.
Beneficiaries of funding include Bena Care from Kenya, a start-up which is delivering affordable clinical and supportive care to patients with life-limiting illnesses in the comfort of own homes, and Mighty Finance, a Zambian fintech start-up with a compelling mission to provide access to capital for primarily women-led businesses. Each of the startup will receive $75,000(Ksh 11.8m).
“We are extremely excited to partner with Standard Chartered Bank to support their vision to lift participation of women globally by driving more investment capital to impact-driven women founders,” said Village Capital Vice President for Impact Investments Heather Matranga.
The Standard Chartered Bank Women in Tech program focuses on early-stage, impact-focused start-ups led by women founders and seeks to address the gender financing gap that persists in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The facility also targets to provide much-needed catalytic capital, empowering women entrepreneurs to overcome the challenges they face in accessing investment and financing opportunities compared to their male counterparts.
“We are excited to be able to partner with Village Capital to bolster our successful Women in Tech program, which has trained more than 70 women-led businesses by providing them with critical support to help scale their businesses to international standards,” said Standard Chartered Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing Joyce Kibe.
Research by various institutions have shown that women-led startups especially in African continue to face a significant funding challenge hence the need to establish gender-focused investment initiatives such as Women in Tech program.
“For over a decade, Village Capital has been developing systems and processes to improve equity in investment decision-making and ultimately unlock more opportunity and capital for women-founded and led ventures. Through this pilot facility, we intend to provide innovative and catalytic financing that truly meets the needs of women entrepreneurs across a range of business models and markets,” added Matranga.
Since its inception, Standard Chartered says the Women in Tech program has successfully completed six cohorts where 64 women led businesses have participated in the programme. Thirty-two of the businesses have been awarded grants totaling Kh 44 million ($280,255).
“We believe by supporting more women in business, we are stimulating more robust and resilient economic activity, while providing support for inputs that are often neglected for start-up businesses,” noted Kibe.
The new partnership which is dedicated to support impact-focused, women-led ventures in developing solutions to address local and global challenges also showcases Standard Chartered and Village Capital’s shared commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in impact investing.
By leveraging Village Capital’s extensive experience unlocking capital for impact-driven start-ups operating in underserved markets and Standard Chartered Bank’s dedication to empowering women entrepreneurs, the partnership is further backed to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the global entrepreneurial landscape.