Standard Chartered opens eXellerator innovation hub in Kenya


Standard Chartered Bank has opened its Africa eXellerator lab, an innovation hub that will serve as a platform to collaborate with fintech startups, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The eXellerator, which joins counterparts located in Singapore, Hong Kong, London and San Francisco, will provide a base for Standard Chartered to partner with fintech startups from Kenya and the broader African region, drive innovation, and develop new business models or services to meet client needs.

Powered by SC Ventures, the bank’s innovation, ventures and investment unit, the Africa eXellerator lab has been established at the bank’s Kenya head office in Chiromo, Nairobi, where fintechs can closely workshop new technologies and solutions.

“We are a connector bank – connecting clients, markets and products with networks and facilitating trade and investment across our global footprint across some of the fastest growing markets. We are establishing an innovation centre in Kenya – the Africa eXellerator lab, to develop better products and services for our clients,” said Standard Chartered Kenya’s chief executive officer Kariuki Ngari.

The lab will focus on developing solutions in artificial intelligence, cyber security and what Ngari called “banking made easy”.

SC Ventures global head Alex Manson said banking was all about serving clients in the ways they wanted to be served, and that Standard Chartered was rewiring the DNA in banking, both inside and outside the bank.

“Our eXellerators provide the tools and environment to develop, experiment and validate new ideas and business models emerging from both our own intrapreneurs and our partners,” he said.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered and @iBizAfrica, the Strathmore University incubator, have announced the top five winners of this year’s Standard Chartered Women in Technology Incubator. Five women-led teams shortlisted from over 170 applicants won KES1 million (US$10,000) in seed funding for their businesses.

The five winning companies were Abantu, Bumpy Maternity Wear, Dermi Joy Skincare, Nature’s Bowl, and Lugha Ishara. They were selected from a cohort of 10 that had been incubated at @iBizAfrica for six months previously, where they were offered coaching, mentoring and business management skills to grow their businesses to the next level.

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