Saturday, July 13, 2024

Village Capital and Standard Chartered Bank join forces to invest in women-led startups

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Village Capital has partnered with Standard Chartered Bank to pilot a financing facility to invest in the Bank’s Women in Tech program alumni.

With a primary focus on early-stage, impact-focused start-ups led by women founders, the initiative seeks to address the gender financing gap that persists in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The financing facility’s key objective is 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.

Extensive research has consistently highlighted the critical need for gender-focused investment initiatives. The partnership is set to create dedicated support for impact-focused, women-led ventures developing solutions to address local and global challenges.

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“We’re 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 Heather Matranga, Vice President, Impact Investments, Village Capital.

“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,” she continued.

As a significant milestone in this partnership, Village Capital is thrilled to announce its inaugural investment in two women-led start-ups: Bena Care, a Kenyan start-up 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.

Benacare will receive USD 75,000, while Mighty Finance will receive USD 75,000, bringing the cumulative investment to $150,000.

“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 Joyce Kibe, Head, Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing, Standard Chartered.

“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,” said Ms. Kibe.

Since its inception, Standard Chartered’s 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 totalling KES44 million.

The new partnership 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, this collaboration is poised to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the global entrepreneurial landscape.

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