Fifteen local business start-ups in the housing sector today pitched for a chance to win a Sh5 million funding for their business ideas.
This was at the ShelterTech Accelerator Kenya program Demo Day, which brought together a pool of local and international investors keen to funding businesses that address the issue of affordable housing.
Depending on their capacity to absorb and after further due diligence, three other businesses will share a further Sh15 million courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.
The first of its kind in Africa, the ShelterTech Accelerator Kenya program supports businesses in the housing sector covering renewable energy in homes, waste management, housing & construction technologies and products and water & sanitation. The 15 businesses were shortlisted from tens of others who applied for the program and have gone through intense training and validation to ensure they are investor ready.
According to Pangea Accelerator Team Lead Anne Lawi, the program was born out of the need to have affordable housing while ensuring key challenges such as high cost of construction due to very high import duties, poor import logistics and an unfavorable tax regime are dealt with.” The purpose of this event is to encourage young and upcoming businesses that they can still be market validated through access to investment opportunities,” said Lawi.
Jane Otima, the Associate Director for Market Systems at Habitat for Humanity International remarked that Demo Day would be a further validation that it is possible to not only get innovative businesses that will aid in the achievement of the housing agenda but it is also an amazing way to nurture and scale entrepreneurs to be investor ready.
“We have very good entrepreneurs with very brilliant ideas that will shake the housing industry. I believe many will be amazed with the kind of ideas that will be pitched and at the end of the day will actually be convinced that affordable housing is actually achievable.” Said Otima
The event saw Gregory Skowronski, the Director for Global Financial Inclusion & Capital Markets at Habitat for Humanity Intl and Tom Uhlman, Advisory Board Member for Habitat for Humanity join government representatives from ministries including the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Transport, Infrastructure, Housing & Urban Development and international development bodies alongside private sector attendees discuss innovations in affordable housing and the different approaches needed to plug in and support the sector.
The ShelterTech Accelerator Kenya program also brings to light discussions on affordable housing and the interventions and innovations needed to achieve this Agenda.