The second edition of the Standard Chartered Digital Banking Innovation and FinTech Festival came to an end with a call for stakeholders to invest more in programmes that will accelerate the growth of women-led businesses across the continent.
In addition, a rallying call was made for more collaboration among banks, fintechs, regulators and other stakeholders in the financial sector even as participants committed to propel diversity, inclusion and sustainability in finance with technology as the driver.
Speaking on the second day, the Board Chairman of Standard Chartered Ghana PLC, Dr. Emmanuel Kumah reiterated the bank’s commitment to lifting participation and building a sustainable future by supporting entrepreneurs, particularly women, through its ground-breaking initiatives.
He also emphasised the need for mentorship and funding facilities to help scale their businesses.
He said, “with a thriving start-up scheme, internet penetration of almost 50 percent, and the country having one of the highest rates of women-owned enterprises, we believe that these sessions will provide the insights and the opportunities for female techpreneurs looking to grow their businesses at scale and foster a stronger and more dynamic eco-system in Ghana and beyond”.
We at Standard Chartered Bank will continue to chart a journey towards digitization and self-disruption in Africa while making it a priority to harness technology, and at the same time, champion the next generation of entrepreneurs”, Dr. Kumah added.
On her part, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Harriet Thompson lauded Ghana’s efforts in quickly becoming a regional tech hub and a pacesetter on the continent.
She noted that “in Ghana, women are the main actors in the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises. A sector that is the anchor on which the economy hangs, as SMEs represent 92 percent of businesses and contribute 70 percent of Ghana’s GDP.”
The event highlighted the need to support more women-led and women-owned businesses through technological advancements, products and services seeing that their contribution to economic growth cannot be overstated.
In a speech read on her behalf by Clarissa Kudowor, Deputy Director of the Payment Systems Department of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the Second Deputy Governor of the central bank, Mrs. Elsie Addo Awadzi emphasised the role women-led businesses played in the economy and appealed to technology services to innovate products that meet the needs of these women.
She remarked, “If we think about the critical role women play in supporting families and livelihoods and the socio-economic life within the Ghanaian society, then this gap of 11 percent presents a significant developmental barrier and will require concerted policy action on all fronts.”
In the panel discussion on “Technology, Gender and economic growth: Expanding the role of technology in women-owned business for development”, the panelists highlighted the difficulties that women entrepreneurs face in sourcing funding for their businesses. They concluded that getting more women in decision-making roles would make it easier for women-led ventures to access funding for their startups, technology to innovate their processes, and mentorship opportunities to move them forward in a competitive marketplace.
Panelists on day two included: Ethel D. Cofie, Chief Executive Officer, Edel Consulting; Winnifred Kotin, Co-Founder Superfluid Labs; Rachel Crawford, Director of Special Projects at Village Capital, and Dr. Areeba Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Taqwa Invest (UAE) and moderated by Khadija Hashimi, Regional Head, Corporate Affairs Brand and Marketing, Africa & Middle East
The event wrapped up with members of the Women in Tech Incubator Cohort 2 sharing their experiences, the impact SCB has made in elevating their businesses as women-led entrepreneurs, and a fintech exhibition of various disruptive technology innovations and businesses.
The two day-long event convened thought leaders from banking, technology and entrepreneurship to discuss how technology is reshaping enterprises on the African continent and empowering women-led businesses in Ghana.
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