Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, a development-based organisation, has officially launched a maiden initiative dubbed the ‘ShelterTech Accelerator’ program in Kenya.
The program aims to facilitate housing markets to better meet the needs of low-income households. It seeks to identify, nurture and accelerate Kenyan start-ups and growth-stage companies that are bringing shelter products and services to the low-income household market.
The ShelterTech Accelerator Kenya, is implemented by accounting firm, BDO East Africa in partnership with Pangea Accelerator, a platform connecting African startups with international investment and expertise and Strathmore University’s iBizAfrica initiative. It is supported by the IKEA Foundation and the Hilti Foundation, two charitable groups that seek to ensure development across various parts of the world.
Access to adequate housing for low-income households is a critical development issue facing many countries around the globe. Kenya, where housing is recognized in the constitution as a basic human right, is no exception. An estimated 61% of Kenyans live in temporary shelter or extremely low-quality housing, affecting the overall well-being of households.
The ShelterTech Accelerator Kenya brings together entrepreneurs, government, corporations and development partners in mapping out and showcasing innovation in improving access to shelter. With over 94 applications from across Kenya, the program launch will unveil 30 start-ups and scale-ups selected to undergo a six-month acceleration program, giving them access to expertise, networks and the chance to win investment of up to $50,000 into their business. The program will run from November 2018 until May 2019.
“The ShelterTech Accelerator Kenya will contribute to the government of Kenya’s affordable housing pillar that aims to have at least 500,000 affordable homes in all major cities while ensuring 350,000 people get jobs in the housing sector by 2022,” said Jane Otima, Habitat for Humanity’s Associate Director for Market Systems and Entrepreneurship.
According to BDO’s CEO Sandeep Khapre, the ShelterTech Accelerator program is an innovative initiative that will facilitate achievement of Habitat for Humanity Terwilliger Center for Innovation in the Shelter’s objective to Build and Expand Inclusive Housing Markets.
Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter views the ShelterTech Accelerator as an efficient and structured mechanism of evaluating large numbers of ventures with the aim of building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in the still nascent affordable housing space.
The program is making its Africa debut in Kenya, joining previous successful implementation in Mexico and current implementation in India.