- Three Saudi Arabia-based female-led startups have been awarded $50,000 in equity-free cash rewards, as part of the Standard Chartered Women in Tech programme initiated by Saudi investment firm Falak Investment Hub.
- The programme is aimed at helping female entrepreneurs establish scalable digital businesses to contribute to the country's economic diversification efforts.
- The programme has selected eight entrepreneurs, who underwent an eight-week incubator programme.
- The first-place winner is Sahm ($25,000), second-place Nqoodlet ($15,000), and third-place Chefaa ($10,000).
The leading global banking group, Standard Chartered, and the region’s leading full-fledged investment firm, Falak Investment Hub, announced the successful completion of the “Standard Chartered Women in Tech” programme by selecting eight female-led startups through an independent panel of judges. The entrepreneurs, who underwent an 8-week incubator programme, showcased innovative ideas in various sectors, including fintech, health tech, property tech, and edutainment.
The top three startups were awarded $50,000 in equity-free cash rewards, with the first-place winner Sahm receiving $25,000, second-place Nqoodlet receiving $15,000, and third-place Chefaa receiving $10,000.
Awards were distributed during a special event last evening, under the patronage of Monsha’at and in the presence of its Deputy Governor, Saud bin Khaled Al-Sabhan. He delivered a speech about the pivotal role played by Monsha’at for women entrepreneurs and enhancing their entrepreneurial skills, which contributed to increasing the number of women-owned enterprises to more than 476,000 establishments in the Kingdom and by up to 40%, hence reflecting the interest of the Saudi government in empowering women and their participation in the business sector.
All participating startups were granted educational opportunities on key entrepreneurship topics, guidance, and mentorship. Standard Chartered team provided financial and banking services expertise to the startups, while Falak utilized its experience in identifying and nurturing early-stage companies. The partnership used Falak's vast network of investors, mentors, and industry experts, while also granting startups access to the Bank’s worldwide presence, which extends across more than 60 countries.
Mazen Al Bunyan, CEO of Standard Chartered Saudi Arabia, said, "The talent exhibited by Saudi women throughout this 8-week program has been extraordinary. We are immensely proud and honoured to have played a pivotal role in facilitating the digital transformation of business start-ups in line with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030. As part of our global initiative, SC Women in Tech, we have successfully launched this program in Saudi Arabia, making it the seventh market within our network to offer such an opportunity”. “Our collaboration with Falak Investment Hub has been invaluable in shaping and executing the program in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Entrepreneurship holds a significant place in our community strategy, and SC Women in Tech plays a vital role in advancing this objective. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the winners and all the participants who embarked on this journey, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the teams from Standard Chartered and Falak Investment Hub for their remarkable efforts in making this endeavour a reality,” Al Bunyan added.
The global ‘Standard Chartered Women In Tech’ initiative is aimed at helping female entrepreneurs establish scalable digital businesses to contribute to the country's economic diversification efforts. It is currently present in 7 countries, where Saudi Arabia is the latest addition.
Commenting, Adwa AlDakheel, CEO of Falak Investment Hub, said, "We are proud to announce the conclusion of our innovative Women in Tech program in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank. The program was conceptualized to enable female founders in the tech industry all over the MENA, focusing on KSA. Through an 8-week journey, we were inspired, humbled, and grateful to have had the opportunity to work with eight powerful female founders paving the way forward with innovative tech-enabled solutions. None of this could have been possible without our amazing partners, Standard Chartered, their invaluable support and expertise played a crucial role in empowering our startups to make significant contributions to the economy of Saudi Arabia, and we look forward to continuing this partnership to create further long-term impact.”
The SC Women In Technology incubators were first launched in October 2014. The program is active in ten countries: the United States, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, UAE, Bahrain, Ghana, Korea, Zambia, and Saudi Arabia. So far, total funding for the program has been $1.4 million, where 2,669 women have taken part in the program until now, with annual cohorts being conducted in the countries it is in. Saudi Arabia launched its first cohort in November 2022, and graduation occurred this month. The second cohort in the Kingdom will be announced later in the year.