Standard Chartered has forged a partnership with Saudi Arabia-based Falak Investment Hub to launch a new program for women in tech.
The first edition of the global women in tech program is to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, aiming to enable women-led start-up companies to benefit from training, mentorship, and seed funding opportunities. Applications for the program opened on 28 November and will remain open for six weeks.
Once started, the program is set to last eight weeks. Its aim is to provide women entrepreneurs with opportunities for economic and social development, as well as funding. The program is part of Standard Chartered‘s global ‘Women in Tech’ initiative. The initiative is currently available in seven countries, including Saudi Arabia.
Winners of the cohort will receive up to $50,000 in funding, looking to bridge the existing funding gap for women.
Earlier in 2022, Saudi Arabia saw an investment of over $6.4billion in future technologies and entrepreneurship. Vision 2030, the economic and social reform blueprint for Saudi Arabia, has helped bring about change such as this. The scheme focuses on boosting private-sector investment to support innovation and attract new talent.
WAMDA, which reveals insights about the Saudi entrepreneurial ecosystem, highlighted how more can be done to support women-led businesses in the MENA region, in a recent report. The report found that all-male start-ups received 99 per cent of the $374million investments raised in August 2022. This left just one per cent going to start-ups founded or co-founded by women. The program aims to begin tackling the gap and enforcing change.
Enforcing positive change
Mazen Bunyan, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank in Saudi Arabia, spoke on the program. Bunyan said: “Increased diversification away from oil, demand for digitally-led services and pro-business reforms are just some key drivers leading to increased entrepreneurial activity in Saudi Arabia.
“We are proud to collaborate with Falak Investment Hub and bring our ‘Women in Tech’ programme to the Kingdom. The spirit of diversity and entrepreneurship are important values that we celebrate at Standard Chartered. We hope that by providing early-stage support and mentorship we can help women succeed and become leading job creators.
“We are confident that by working together with our strategic partners we will be able to unlock great potential. This will create an enabling environment for aspiring entrepreneurs.”
Adwa Al Dakheel, founder and CEO of Falak Investment Hub, explained why the program could initiate positive change. She commented: “Women entrepreneurs in KSA have the potential to make a huge impact. Our goal with this program is to help them realise their vision, aligned with the country’s broader economic goals and Vision 2030.
“We are excited to create a platform that will enable these start-ups to access the resources and mentorship they need in order to reach their potential and establish the solid infrastructures for them to go global thereafter through our partnership with Standard Chartered.
“We believe that these initiatives are key drivers of change for women entrepreneurs and the Saudi economy at large.”