The Standard Chartered Women in Tech Incubator & Entrepreneurship Program



About the Partnership

In 2014, the percentage of young women involved in the Zahn Innovation Center’s programming was merely 13%. Because of its belief in an equitable future, Standard Chartered Bank developed an initiative designed to increase the number of young women pursuing technology and entrepreneurship. The highlight of this initiative includes the competition track Women+Tech, where teams founded by women leverage technologies to address issues. The competition offers grand prizes and support from experts at Standard Chartered. The bank also sponsors an elective course at CCNY focused on the history of women’s entrepreneurship, as well as an entrepreneurship program for high school girls called Bossgirls. With Standard Chartered's support, we've engaged more young women in our programs, and since 2018, we've established 50/50–or greater–gender parity in our incubator. 

Standard Chartered's continued sponsorship at the Zahn Innovation Center is a pillar of its Futuremakers initiative, designed to raise $50 million by 2023 to tackle inequality and increase economic inclusion for young people across the globe. Standard Chartered will invite young people–especially girls and the visually impaired–to gain new skills and expertise to improve their chances of getting a job or starting their own businesses. By enabling young people to realize their full potential, Standard Chartered is aiming to promote economic inclusion and drive commerce and prosperity in the communities where it does business.

The Standard Chartered Prize

Each year, up to six startups compete for the Standard Chartered Women+Tech Prize as part of the Zahn Innovation Center’s Startup Venture Competition. The category celebrates the role of women in building “Silicon Alley.”

The competitors are admitted into an incubator where they will work in an accelerated environment, and with the support of mentors, learn the skills needed to test their hypotheses, understand their customers, develop their value proposition, and build their Minimum Viable Product/Prototype (MVP). Mentorship, funding and resources are provided to bolster their efforts and increase their chances of success. 

Entrepreneurship Course

In the Fall of 2015, we launched a new course at CCNY, Entrepreneurship: Women & Diversity. Taught by crowdfunding expert and entrepreneur Kim Wales, this course provides an overall historical context for women as entrepreneurs and recognizes ethnic, racial, religious and socio-economic diversity of women entrepreneurs. Students discuss how gender difference impacts the experiences of women entrepreneurs versus their male counterparts. Throughout the semester, students learn the strategies and confidence needed in order to assess, determine feasibility of, and launch and grow new businesses or reinvigorate existing businesses.

Kim Wales is a thought leader in the crowdfunding industry, and a change agent with verifiable year after year success leading efforts in driving large scale initiatives that build global organizational effectiveness while increasing revenue and reducing expenses. She is the CEO and Founder of Wales Capital and CrowdBureau.


Launched in the summer of 2017, Bossgirls is a summer entrepreneurship program for high school girls serving students across the five boroughs from a variety of different schools. It's designed to introduce girls to entrepreneurship and the startup life. Students learn the ins & outs of running a business while working on their own startup idea, and by the end of the program, they'll pitch their ideas  (like in a mini-shark tank). From the start, students learn to discover the problems others around them face, and they brainstorm solutions to these problems. They research areas that interest them, and then head out into the community to learn how to create products and services their customers will actually use! All along the way they engage in workshops around customer research, marketing, financials, and product development. Expert mentors, from Standard Chartered, work with them to develop their business plans.


For the Zahn Innovation Center and particularly the Bossgirls and Startup Competition programs, mentorship is an integral component of assisting students in realizing the full potential of their startup goals. From the first stages of a student’s concept to create a brand around their idea, mentors provide leadership and guidance at every step of the process.

Mentor pairing gives Standard Chartered employees ample opportunity to work closely with students, creating lifelong impact and forging bonds that will assist these entrepreneurs in their future endeavors. The relationship between the mentors and their students is often organically formed. In many cases students reach out to mentors that most closely align with their goals, creating a synergistic experience for all of those involved.

Special Events
We host events that are centered around women and girls who are making an impact. Our platform brings students and professionals together to discuss key trends, exchange ideas and network. Throughout the year we offer a curated selection of panel discussions, fireside chats, seminars, meet and greets, workshops, and conferences. They feature CEOs, thought leaders, budding entrepreneurs, authors, and venture capitalists.


Last Updated: 10/12/2022 15:20