SCB, SMU Empower Women in Business

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KnowESG_Standard Chartered Bank women empowerment
Image courtesy of SMU

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) has partnered with Singapore Management University (SMU)'s Lien Centre for Social Innovation to launch a new Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator.

The bank has donated US$300,000 to the university to support female entrepreneurship focused on achieving social impact. The incubator will provide training, mentoring, and seed funding for aspiring and current female entrepreneurs.

In Southeast Asia, female entrepreneurs face significant challenges in accessing mentorship, networking opportunities, and funding. According to a 2020 report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), women receive only eight per cent of venture capital funding despite accounting for 30 per cent of the region's entrepreneurs.

The Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator aims to address these disparities by offering tailored support and resources for female-led startups, fostering an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The incubator will focus on two areas of entrepreneurship development for participants. Firstly, it aims to cultivate an innovative entrepreneurial mindset by employing tools such as user-centred design and technology to solve problems for both individuals and society. Secondly, it seeks to support the social entrepreneurship journey, helping participants become more effective social entrepreneurs through personal and professional development.

Alex Manson, Global Head of SC Ventures, Standard Chartered's fintech investment and venture unit, expressed their support for the Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator, emphasising the importance of fostering inclusivity regardless of gender, nationality, neurodiversity, or age.

Steve Loh, Executive Director of SMU Lien Centre for Social Innovation, highlighted their commitment to increasing gender equity in business ownership and entrepreneurship while aligning with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

The Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator will accommodate up to 20 female entrepreneurs from 10 early-stage impact-focused startups. The programme, which runs from October 2023 to March 2024, includes masterclasses, mentoring, and pitching exercises, culminating in the selection and awarding of seed funding for the startups. Selected teams must address at least one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and align with SMU's strategic priorities of Digital Transformation, Sustainable Living, and Growth in Asia.

Upon completion of the incubator journey, the 10 teams will receive post-programme support from SMU Lien Centre for Social Innovation and join a network of entrepreneurs, gaining access to long-term support and collaboration opportunities. The Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator plans to expand with subsequent cohorts, creating a valuable ecosystem for sharing best practices and generating social impact solutions.

Applications for the incubator will be open from June 12 to September 1, 2023. Female entrepreneurs in Singapore eager to elevate their businesses and benefit from this transformative programme are encouraged to apply. The top five performing teams will receive up to S$80,000 in seed funding.

To learn more about the Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator and apply, visit the official website at https://lcsi.smu.edu.sg/wie-2023.

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Source: SMU

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