ShelterTech Accelerator launches in Kenya to facilitate housing for low-income households

KISSI, KENYA (05/05/16)- Tabitha Nyanchama Ondieki, with her children, Israel Owano Ondieki (blue striped shirt), 7, and David Mosoki Ondieki (red shirt), 8. ©Habitat for Humanity International/Jason Asteros

IKEA, Habitat for Humanity, Strathmore University and Pangea have launched the ShelterTech Accelerator Program in Kenya to bring together entrepreneurs, government, corporations and development partners in mapping out and showcasing innovation in improving access to shelter.

ShelterTech Accelerator Kenya program aims to facilitate housing markets better meet the needs of the low-income households and 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 BDO East Africa in partnership with Pangea Accelerator, and Strathmore University’s @iBizAfrica. It is supported by the IKEA Foundation and the Hilti Foundation.

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. Approximately 61 percent of Kenyans live in temporary shelter or extremely low-quality housing, affecting the overall well-being of households.

With over 94 applications from across Kenya, the program unveiled 30 start-ups and scale-ups which will undergo a six-month acceleration program, giving them access to expertise, networks and the chance to win investment of up to US$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,” says Jane Otima, Habitat for Humanity’s Associate Director for Market Systems and Entrepreneurship.

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BDO’s CEO Sandeep Khapre and Pangea’s CEO Jonas Tesfu were also part of the launch.