" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> Falak Investments and Standard Chartered elevate female tech innovators in Saudi's latest women In tech cohort
Monday, April 15, 2024

Falak Investments and Standard Chartered elevate female tech innovators in Saudi’s latest women In tech cohort

Falak Investment Hub and Standard Chartered Bank celebrated the graduation of the second ‘SC Women In Tech Program’ cohort on February 28, 2024. This year, nine female tech entrepreneurs completed an eight-week accelerator program. The top three finalists were awarded $50,000 in equity-free grants, highlighting the commitment to supporting female tech entrepreneurship in the region.

The SC Women in Technology program is an international initiative aimed at providing assistance to technology businesses led or owned by women. Standard Chartered provided crucial financial expertise, while Falak contributed its deep knowledge in growing early-stage companies. By combining Falak’s wide network of investors and experts with the bank’s international reach across over 52 countries, the partnership aimed to boost innovation and growth for entrepreneurs.

The judging panel comprised distinguished figures at the forefront of innovation and leadership in both business and technology communities, including Mazen Bunayan – CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia, Amal Dokhan – General Partner of 500 Global MENA, Basmah Al Sindi – Managing Partner of Impact46, Nada Al Jeffri – Chief Risk Officer at Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia and Hussein Alattar – CEO of TechInvest. Saud Alsabhan, Vice Governor of Enterpreneurship in the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monshaat) was also in attendance as an esteemed guest speaker.

“The Women in Tech program this year has once again highlighted the incredible potential and leadership of Saudi women and their global counterparts in spearheading digital transformation. Our aim extends beyond merely bolstering the vibrant tech ecosystem in Saudi Arabia; it’s about illuminating the increasing involvement and impact of women in this sector,” commented Al Dakheel, CEO of Falak Investments.

Among the standout startups in this cohort were: Afsih, a communications-based assistive technology; AVA, a multi-store hospitality ecommerce platform; Tarkeez, an AI productivity and time management app; Rodud, a logistics technology utilising data to enhance efficiency, decision-making, and communication; ShopIT, a personalised online shopping platformCrew KSA, a talent resource acquisition platform; FinCart, a connection platform for merchants to shippers; 360Moms, an AI health and parenting chatbot; and Rafah.AI, an AI Chatbot for mental health support.

Finalist Norah Alghusun, CEO and Co-Founder of Afsih, the initiative which took the top spot in this years cohort said, “This achievement is surreal, leaving me both humbled and immensely proud to be chosen as the 1st winner out of all the 8 other exceptional entrepreneurs. The program was filled with shared knowledge and mutual support, highlighting the vibrant social fabric unique to our cohort and that what a community is. Adwa’s guidance was an instrumental for us, enriching our path with invaluable insights. Thankful for my team’s relentless dedication and hard work. Our achievements are a testament to their commitment. I’m deeply appreciative of Standard Chartered Bank and Falak Investment Hub for spearheading this initiative. Their unwavering support has been crucial to our growth and success throughout this journey and with this prize it’s certainly going to accelerate our path towards the next level.”

Falak Investment CEO, Al Dakheel continues, “This cohort of dynamic female entrepreneurs exemplifies the critical role women are assuming as innovators and leaders in technology, and the brilliant potential of contributions of women in this emerging technological ecosystem of Saudi Arabia. Their contributions are not just shaping the present but are paving the way for a future where female-led tech start-ups are at the heart of global technological advancement. Through our partnership with Standard Chartered Bank, we’re not only celebrating the achievements of these women but also reinforcing our shared commitment to nurturing a diverse and inclusive tech industry.”

Mazen Bunyan, CEO Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia, said “We would like to congratulate all the participants and especially the winners in the second year of Standard Chartered’s Women In Tech (“WiT”) KSA Program. Standard Chartered Women in Tech Incubators support female-led entrepreneurial teams with business management training, mentoring, and seed funding.

“Increased diversification of income and resources away from oil, demand for digital-led services, and business-friendly models are some of the key drivers leading to increased entrepreneurial activity in Saudi Arabia. We are proud to have cooperated with Falak Investment Accelerator and introduce the “Women and Technology” program to the Kingdom. We would like to note that the spirit of diversity and entrepreneurship are values that we celebrate at Standard Chartered Bank, and we hope that by providing support and guidance in the early stages we can help women succeed and become leaders in job creation. We are confident that by working with our strategic partners, we will be able to unleash great potential, by creating an enabling environment for aspiring female entrepreneurs,” He continued.

The SC Women in Tech initiative reflects the Kingdom’s dedication to empowering female entrepreneurs and equipping them with the necessary tools for success. Saudi Arabia remains committed to developing its technology ecosystem, an essential component of its Vision 2030 economic strategy to lessen its oil dependency. Since its launch in October 2014, the SC Women In Technology incubators have broadened their reach to ten countries globally, offering extensive resource and mentorship to women participating in the program across these nations. In November 2022, Saudi Arabia launched its first cohort, and we are proud to continue this tradition by celebrating the graduation ceremonies of the second cohort this year.

In the upcoming period, the Kingdom can anticipate LEAP Conference 2024, the third instalment of the MENA regions premier tech event. Centred around future technologies, digital entrepreneurship, and tech startups, Falak’s involvement aims to utilize Saudi Arabia’s leading position in the regional digital market to showcase and enhance investment and developmental prospects.

Women in Technology was first launched in October 2014 by Standard Chartered Americas as a local community project. Since 2014, Women in Tech has scaled up to support female-led start-ups across 9 markets in the Africa and Middle East region: in Bahrain (2020), Ghana (2020), Kenya (2017), Nigeria (2019), Pakistan (2019), Saudi Arabia (2022), UAE (2019), South Africa (2023) and Zambia (2020). The programme has reached a total of 1,712 women and engaged 339 businesses. 61 enterprises. Over 1.184 jobs created through WIT.

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