Y-Combinator-Backed FinTech, Grey, Announces Recipients of 2024 UpGreyed Her Grants Programme

  • Commits $8,000 to 3 Innovative African Female-led Businesses

Mary Nnah

Grey, a leading FinTech, has launched UpGreyed Her, an equity-free grant initiative, to advance financial inclusion for African women and celebrate Women’s History Month 2024.

The initiative, which kicked off on International Women’s Day, received an overwhelming response, with almost 1000 applications from six African countries within two weeks.  

The UpGreyed Her Initiative garnered almost 1,000 applications from women-led businesses across Africa in just two weeks. The winners received a total of $8,000 in grants to support their business growth. 

The applicants came from various industries and regions, and they all demonstrated their passion for growth while outlining their business expansion needs. Female business owners presented their pitch decks in their applications, outlining their plans for scaling and go-to-market strategies.

The primary reasons for applying were to acquire new technology/equipment (40%), build their brand (35%), raise capital (15%), and hire new staff (10%). 

A panel of accomplished women leaders from various industries, including Iheakachi Nwabueze, who serves as the Head of Global Marketing and Growth at Grey, Maya Horgan Famodu, Founder and MD at Ingressive Capital, Nishita Devanand, CEO of Savoir Faire Hospitality, and founder of NAVI Africa, and Blessing Abeng, a branding and communications expert, evaluated the applications based on scalability, leadership, business viability, unique value proposition, and social impact. The panel shortlisted five finalists, each demonstrating innovative approaches, strong leadership, and a commitment to sustainability and inclusivity.

After a thorough selection process, the judges chose finalists based on their unique approaches to improving product competitiveness, developing new product concepts, demonstrating commitment to sustainability, and emphasising diversity. The judges then conducted a live pitch round and selected three winners.

On Friday, 12 April 2024, Grey announced the winners of their UpGreyed Her grants through their social media pages. Ameenah Kazeem, the founder of OfadaHub Ltd, emerged as the winner and was awarded a prize of $4,000. Chinazom Arinze, founder of AutoGirl Ltd, and Zigwai Fanda, founder of LadyBambooLtd, were announced as runners-up, winning $2,000 each.

The grant presentation ceremony occurred on Monday, April 15, 2024, in Lagos.

Founders of the winning companies and the entire UpGreyedHer team were present at the event.

During her keynote speech, Iheakachi Nwabueze stated that Grey’s objective was to have a meaningful and impactful Women’s History Month celebration.

UpGreyed Her aimed to bridge the $42 billion funding gap African female entrepreneurs face. She proudly announced that the campaign successfully met these objectives, and three exceptional female business owners emerged as winners.

Nwabueze also highlighted the innovative and impactful businesses spearheaded by women all around the continent. She commended the 773 applicants who followed the process and submitted their applications.

The first-place prize winner of $4,000, Ameenah Kazeem, expressed her gratitude during her acceptance speech. She mentioned that being an entrepreneur in her part of the world is challenging, especially for a woman trying to balance work and home life. However, she was encouraged to have organisations like Grey that believe in female founders enough to invest in them. It has made her journey less stressful and easier to scale her business. Additionally, she shared her aspirations for her company, OfadaHub, to become a household name in the next few years. She also mentioned that the Grey team should be proud to have invested in her business.

Speaking about the UpGreyed Her Initiative, Nishita Devanand, a judge on the panel, shared her thoughts. Devanand, a woman and business owner, emphasised the importance of receiving encouragement and support for one’s dreams. She commended Grey for their inclusive and forward-thinking initiative, which was highly necessary and memorable. Devanand was pleased to have played a part in the campaign and congratulated the three winners, believing that the grant they received would help to further their success. Blessing Abeng expressed her admiration for Grey’s efforts to promote gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She commended the company for putting women at the forefront and congratulated the winners for their achievements, stating that it would undoubtedly propel their businesses to new heights.

The UpGreyed Her Initiative partnered with Her Network, a global media platform that amplifies women’s voices and impact stories.

Grey is at the forefront of providing secure and convenient global banking solutions to meet the needs of customers and businesses. With a Money Service Business license from FINTRAC in Canada and FinCEN in the USA, Grey, whose primary focus is emerging markets, has created a range of services that enable individuals and businesses to own and manage their foreign bank accounts easily, including currency exchange and access to virtual cards. Grey Inc., a company duly incorporated under the laws of Delaware, USA, is the provider of Grey’s services.

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