Nairobi, Kenya (January 26, 2023) – 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-creating, women-led ventures developing solutions to address local and global challenges.
"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."
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 their own homes, and Mighty Finance, a Zambian fintech start-up with a compelling mission to provide access to capital for primarily women-led businesses.
Bena Care and Mighty Finance will each receive USD 75K, bringing the initial cumulative investment to USD 150K.
"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 catalyzing the robust and resilient economic opportunities, providing support for services that are often neglected for start-up businesses."
Since its inception, the Women in Tech program has trained more than 64 women-led businesses leveraging technology by offering mentorship, advisory, coaching, networking opportunities, access to seed capital, and investor forums to help scale their businesses to international standards. To date, 32 start-ups have been awarded over KES 1.2M each in seed funding, with the first five cohorts attracting over 2,000 applications.
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-creating startups 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.
About Village Capital
Village Capital is reinventing the system to back the entrepreneurs of the future. Known for its groundbreaking approaches to supporting founders who are building solutions to emergent social, economic, and environmental challenges, VilCap unlocks critical social and financial capital for early-stage companies to maximize business and impact growth.
Since 2009, Village Capital has supported over 1,600 startups that have raised over $5 billion in investment capital. It has made more than 150 investments through its various affiliated funds, including Vilcap Investments, which has invested in 110 peer-selected companies. Over 20,000 entrepreneurs have improved their investment readiness through its network of entrepreneur support organizations and its platform, Abaca. Learn more at www.vilcap.com and follow @villagecapital.
About Standard Chartered Bank
We are a leading international banking group, with a presence in 53 of the world’s most dynamic markets and serving clients in a further 64. Our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity through our unique diversity, and our heritage and values are expressed in our brand promise, here for good.
Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges.