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KARACHI: Standard Chartered Bank (SCBPL), in partnership with INNOVentures Global (Private) Limited, announced the winners of #SCWomenInTech Cohort 5, 2023.

The WomeninTech programme is designed to foster gender representation within technology-based entrepreneurship, with a special emphasis on promoting financial inclusion.

Launched in Pakistan during 2019, the WomenInTech programme aims at supporting gender representation within technology-based entrepreneurship. During the selection phase of this programme in 2023 a Cohort of 25 start-ups was selected, representing businesses in 14 different business verticals.

The participants got the opportunity to go through an extensive capacity-building programme complemented by a seed grant for the winners. Over the years, WomenInTech programme has awarded approximately PKR 30 million as grant money. Besides these declared grants awarded between the years 2019 to 2022, more than two start-ups have undisclosed investments raised through one successful acquisition exit.

As the ‘Application Phase’ of the WomenInTech 2023 was completed recently, there was a significant increase in the number of women founders showing interest, as more than 1,700 applications for participation were received from more than 100 cities and towns.

Almost 300 applications were selected for pitching before a screening jury. Finally, 50 applicants from 13 cities were invited to pitch, based on their eligibility criteria and the uniqueness of their start-ups.

The selected Cohort of 25 start-ups has undergone a 2.5 month capacity building programme, to learn business management skills and enhance their knowledge for accelerating their growth. These sessions were conducted by 12 subject matter experts, while the Cohort was also introduced to six leading local and international role models from the industry and beyond. The founders were also matched, one-on-one, with 25 expert mentors, for advising them through the acceleration period on their proposed technology project.

Rehan Shaikh, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan stated, “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the dynamic entrepreneurs selected for this year’s #WomenInTech programme. At Standard Chartered Bank, we believe that all these female entrepreneurs are playing a huge role in advancing the socio-economic growth of our nation while creating better employment and inclusion opportunities for masses.

The bank is committed to promote financial inclusion and support sustainable growth on a global scale. To date, we have awarded more than PKR 30 million as grants to further scale some of the most exciting ventures, reflecting our commitment to empower entrepreneurs and foster an inclusive and diverse tech ecosystem. We will continue to inspire young female entrepreneurs, enriching their potential and helping them attain professional skills to scale their businesses and impact on both, the local and global fronts.”

The programme aims at promoting the economic and social development of women in Pakistan, through innovation or technology-led entrepreneurship. This year, the programme once again attracted the most diverse portfolio of entrepreneurs and founders till date, including Fem-Tech innovators, enhancing Health-Tech, Hygiene products, Fin-Tech, Air-Quality, Agri-Tech, Ed-Tech, etc., to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, for ensuring good health and community wellbeing.

Details of winners are as follows:

RENT-IT: RENT-IT Disrupting Pakistan’s digital fashion space by making high-end fashion accessible to fashion-forward customers.

Khair: Khair is Pakistan’s First Period & Pregnancy Tracker • All-in-one Solution to Women's Health

EcoBricks: EcoBricks is a pioneer startup, developing eco-friendly construction materials, bricks and pavers made from non-recyclable plastic waste, and it is ready to disrupt the construction industry.

Chiragh Education Technologies: Chiragh is a gamified & video-based learning platform that offers learning solutions in local languages.

Aesthetics Lab powered by Tibbi: Aesthetics Lab is a unique and innovative health tech startup that is poised to disrupt the aesthetics industry in Pakistan.

DigiDeaf: DigiDeaf is a platform that provides 360-degree solutions for the educational development, employment, and inclusion of the Deaf Community.

Irverde-Gogreen: Irverde-Gogreen is a tech-enabled waste management company, spreading awareness and recycling everything to achieve zero waste vision.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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