Global non-profit organisation Habitat for Humanity has opened applications for the ShelterTech sub-Saharan Africa accelerator programme, aimed at startups with scalable solutions to today’s affordable housing challenges.

ShelterTech is a platform for affordable housing innovation, working across sectors, industries and geographies to support and grow cutting-edge products and services that can improve housing conditions for low-income families. Since its first accelerator programme in 2017, the platform has already supported more than 70 startups worldwide, and it held its first African edition in 2018.

The programme is sponsored by the Hilti Foundation, Autodesk Foundation, Dow, the Keith V. Kiernan Foundation, the Dotson Family Fund and the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation. Habitat is partnering with Plug and Play for the delivery of the programme,

“What’s unique about ShelterTech’s Sub-Saharan Africa accelerator is that it encompasses several verticals – including prop-tech, new materials, circular economy, and smart cities – under a single theme, which is affordable housing. This allows us to be creative in developing a tailor-made curriculum that can maximise startups’ learning about the ecosystem, as well as opening them up to more opportunities regarding growth and funding,” said Nicolas Chow, EMEA’s director for sustainability at Plug and Play.

ShelterTech supports ventures with solutions in sectors related to finance, labor, materials, land, markets, as well as energy and water and sanitation.

“Our 2018 Kenya accelerator evidenced the immense potential of innovation in serving low-income markets. Now is the right time to expand our platform across the region. While countries are working hard to recover from the pandemic, the housing deficit across Africa remains a dire challenge, with 238 million people living in slums and informal settlements,” said Patrick Kelley, vice-president of Habitat’s Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter.

“Part of how we can tackle this challenge is by identifying and investing in the growth of businesses that can make homes more affordable, sustainable and safer.”

Applications are open here until June 9.