Standard Chartered Bank Opens Africa-First Innovation Hub in Kenya

From left, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya CEO Ngari Kariuki, Head SC Ventures


StanchartLender Standard Chartered has today opened an innovation hub in Kenya that will offer a platform for financial startups and businesses to collaborate with the bank. The hub, which is one of Stanchart’s Africa eXellerator will seek to drive innovation and develop new business models for local fintechs and those outside the country. It should be noted the hub is Africa’s first and complements those in San Francisco, Singapore, London, and Hong Kong.

The hub is located at the bank’s head office in Nairobi. It is powered by an in-house system known as SC Ventures.

The financial institution has been involved in a variety of activities in continental Africa, including the launch of a digital retail bank in West Africa’s Ivory Coast that was also replicated locally. The solution, which allows users to perform a variety of bank-related action without stepping into a banking hall has also been launched in Uganda and Tanzania.

“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. For example, we will focus on developing solutions in artificial intelligence, cyber security and ‘Banking Made Easy’, to ensure we provide the best possible services to our clients of today, and tomorrow,” said Standard Chartered Kenya’s Chief Executive Officer, Kariuki Ngari.

According to SC Ventures’ Africa Region Lead, Kennedy Mubita, the hub will, at the start of its operations, target to generate value by ‘emulating intrapreneurial, human-centred and technology skills across the Bank’s franchise in Africa.’ It will also take advantage of a vibrant fintech ecosystem in Kenya and its wide client reach.

“Banking is all about serving clients in the way they want to be served. We are rewiring the DNA in banking both in and outside the Bank, including an extended team of partners as good ideas and great execution come from everywhere. 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,” added Global Head, SC Ventures, Alex Manson.

A week ago, Cisco launched a nearly similar hub at the University of Nairobi that targets to combine business knowledge and allow Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) access the ICT-related markets in a timely fashion