Standard Chartered Technology Incubator for Women Entrepreneurs

About the Partnership

 

In 2014, the percentage of young women involved in the Zahn Center’s programming was a mere 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+Tech4NYC,”  where teams founded by women develop technologies that address issues in urban settings. 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 for the past two years, we’ve established 50/50–or greater–gender parity in our incubator. 

Standard Chartered’s continued sponsorship at the Zahn 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 + Tech4NYC Prize as part of the Zahn Innovation Center’s Startup Competition. The category celebrates the role of women in building “Silicon Alley.” Startups were challenged to leverage technology to address challenges in urban environments. Congratulations to STEM Hive, the Grand Prize Winner, and Second Place Winner, olacare!

STEM Hive: a platform for young girls to engage in STEM, receive community mentorship, and gather cryptocurrency rewards based on academic or social achievements

olacare: a customizable sexual/reproductive health app for the LGBTQIA+ community

Fruition: an app that enables students to enhance their success through personalized study plans

Gesture-Controlled Robot: a robot controlled via hand gestures made by the user, meant to enhance quality of life for people with disabilities

Study Space: smart co-working spaces for students to improve their studying experiences

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.

#Bossgirls

Launched in the summer of 2017, the #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 high school girls to tech 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 for prizes (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.

The Summer 2019 teams included:

Ali-US: A platform that provides skincare enthusiasts the experience of different cultures through natural skin products.

Commutity: A platform that strives to create stronger bonds between commuters, minimize the hassles of finding others to commute with, and works to create a safer environment within the public transport system.

Globaloka: A platform that breaks down social barriers by creating a deeper appreciation for lesser-known cultural cuisines in an interactive and convenient manner. 

Mealize: A platform that realizes meal options for individuals with dietary restrictions, diets, and allergies so that everyone has a seat at the table.