Standard Chartered Bank and Singapore Management University Launch Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator to Increase Gender Equity

By the SMU Corporate Communications team

Singapore, 12 Jun 2023 – Standard Chartered Bank (“the Bank”) has launched a new Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator in partnership with Singapore Management University’s Lien Centre for Social Innovation. The Incubator is funded by the Bank’s US$300,000 donation to the university to support female entrepreneurship focused on achieving social impact and aspiring and current female entrepreneurs will have access to training, mentoring and seed funding through the Incubator.

Female entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia face significant barriers in accessing mentorship, networking opportunities and funding. According to an International Finance Corporation (IFC) report from 2020, women receive just eight per cent of venture capital funding despite accounting for 30 per cent of the region’s entrepreneurs. The Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator seeks to address these disparities and create a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing tailored support and resources for female-led startups.

This will be achieved by focusing on two areas of entrepreneurship development for participants. First, the Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator aims to cultivate an innovative entrepreneurial mindset that applies tools like user-centred design, technology, and other approaches and methods to problem-solving for self and society. Second, the Incubator aims to facilitate the social entrepreneurship journey, supporting participants in becoming more effective social entrepreneurs through personal and professional development.

“We are pleased to support the Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator programme, which will nurture young female entrepreneurs aspiring to achieve social impact and help drive a more inclusive entrepreneurship culture for all,” said Alex Manson, Global Head, SC Ventures, the fintech investment and venture unit of Standard Chartered, who added, “SC Ventures was set up with the conviction that banking can be pioneering in order to play a critical role in the growth and welfare of societies. Accordingly, we are, by design, a group of highly diverse individuals, aiming to break through biases and create safe environments for ideas regardless of gender, nationality, neurodiversity, or age.”

“The Lien Centre for Social Innovation is delighted to be part of the movement aimed at increasing gender equity in business ownership and entrepreneurship in Singapore. With the Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator, we are especially keen to support enterprises that create a sustainable impact, within the overall context of contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” said Steve Loh, Executive Director, SMU Lien Centre for Social Innovation.

SMU’s Vision 2025 strategy identified three strategic priorities of Digital Transformation, Growth in Asia and Sustainable Living, setting the University in line with the future needs of Singapore as well as Asia. With the Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator, SMU affirms its commitment to playing its part to serve as a thought leader and solution partner in addressing sustainability challenges facing society.

About the Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator

Up to 20 female entrepreneurs from 10 early-stage impact-focused startups will have the opportunity to undergo a series of masterclasses, mentoring, and pitching exercises during the incubation programme period between October 2023 to March 2024, culminating in the selection and awarding of seed funding for their startups.

The teams that are selected are required to be active in a business, or to present a business idea, that addresses at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) and to be hold a focus that is aligned to at least one of SMU’s Strategic Priorities of Digital Transformation, Sustainable Living, and Growth in Asia. Upon completion of the Incubator journey, the 10 teams will receive post-programme support from the SMU Lien Centre for Social Innovation. All participants enrolled in the Incubator will join a wider network of entrepreneurs and have access to exclusive, long-term support from a community of likeminded peers and mentors.

The 2023 cohort of the Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator will be the first of several, with new participants joining the Incubator in future instalments. It is envisioned that the growing network of participants provides an invaluable ecosystem for the sharing of best practices, ideas and solutions for social impact.

Applications for the Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator will be open from 12 June to 1 September 2023. Female entrepreneurs in Singapore who are eager to elevate their businesses and benefit from this transformative program are encouraged to apply. The five best performing teams will receive up to S$80,000 in seed funding.

For more information about the Women in Entrepreneurship Incubator and to apply, please visit