The ShelterTech Accelerator in Kenya is a program to identify, nurture, and accelerate startups and early stage companies that are bringing affordable shelter solutions, including but not limited to construction materials, waste management, water, sanitation and renewable energy, to the market to serve low-income people. It is a partnership between Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and Finance, a unit of Habitat for Humanity International that works with housing market systems and BDO Consortium. The program has been developed with support from the IKEA Foundation and Hilti Foundation. Companies that show potential to address housing challenges and offer scalable solutions are invited to apply for the accelerator, where they will be able to learn from experts and connect with investors and seed funding opportunities. At the end of the program, top innovators will have a chance to receive an injection of up to US$ 50,000 into their business.
Having been held in Mexico and currently underway in India, ShelterTech Accelerator program comes to the city hosting Africa’s largest slum to support affordable housing solutions that can improve living conditions for millions across the continent. This is the first accelerator program in Kenya dedicated to bringing housing solutions to the low-income market. “The focus on housing easily excludes the low-income segment of the Kenyan population. We are keen to work with companies that are already innovating products and services targeting these people. Accelerators help build a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem, especially for sectors that are still nascent, such as affordable housing,” explains Jane Otima, Market Systems Associate Director at the Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter.
“We’re taking in start-ups in different stages of growth. We’re going to have hackathons and venture build while also working with existing companies to help them scale, which is actually our main priority,” said Jonas Tesfu, representing BDO Consortium.
The main aim of the ShelterTech Accelerator is to propel existing businesses working to improve access to shelter. Startups which fall under this category and offer solutions that improve the living condition of Kenyans through affordable housing, proper waste management, use of renewable energy, and access to water and sanitation, can apply to join the accelerator at pangeaaccelerator.com before 11.59 p.m. EAT on October 21, 2018.
The accelerator will run for a period of six months at Strathmore’s @iBizAfrica business incubation centre and is limited to only start-ups in Kenya. Bernard Chiira, Incubation Manager at @iBizAfrica, notes, “There is mounting pressure on cities in Africa to accommodate the world’s largest and youngest population. This global challenge presents a great opportunity for cities to innovate and build solutions for the future of shelter in Africa.”
Participating startups will stand a chance to secure up to $50,000 in equity investment and should apply at pangeaaccelerator.com.
Building the Smarter World
Are you curious about the role of technology in improving living conditions across the world? Jane Otima, Market Systems Associate Director at Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter will host a fireside chat about sustainable housing solutions for low-income households.
The event takes place on October 4, 2018 at Metta (14 Riverside Drive). Tilt Innovations, a US-based Internet of Things (IoT) focused company, will share research insights on the use of IoT in homes. Tilt Innovations has conducted research on over 1000 IoT companies across the world to tackle questions on how we can use internet and new technology to improve living conditions. In addition to the select startups, the event will bring together a number of stakeholders in the housing industry to discuss challenges in the ecosystem and outline what they expect to see from the participating startups. Registration for the event is open to all and can be done through the following link.