Habitat for Humanity calls for ShelterTech accelerators applicants in SEA to disrupt the affordable housing space
By Digital News Asia October 14, 2020
- Provides startups, scaleups with access to key industry players
- Selected ventures will go through a virtual acceleration program
NGO Habitat for Humanity recently announced that its Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter is taking applications for ShelterTech accelerators in Southeast Asia.
ShelterTech, a platform for affordable housing innovation, is meant to bring together entrepreneurial minds to answer today’s pressing global shelter challenges.
ShelterTech gives participating startups and scaleups access to key industry players, from corporate executives and investors to academics, government officials and innovators. They provide mentorship, connections and funding, backed by Habitat for Humanity’s decades of experience as a leading affordable housing organisation.
By scaling solutions developed by startups, Habitat is working to assure more of the 1.6 billion people who lack adequate shelter globally have access to improved housing products and services.
ShelterTech launched accelerators in Mexico in 2017, then Kenya and India in 2018, accelerating more than 40 startups whose innovations ranged from construction management mobile applications to paving blocks made from plastic waste to solar energy solutions for rural areas. Since then, accelerator alumni have gone on to secure funding from investors worldwide.
This year, in recognition of the important role housing plays in promoting better health outcomes, the accelerators will prioritise innovations that address Covid-19’s evolving challenges. To further help startups reach their milestones and encourage out-of-the box thinking, each ShelterTech accelerator cohort participant will receive US$10,000 in catalytic funding,
“ShelterTech is about closing the gap between the best innovations in affordable housing and families seeking a safe and livable place to call home,” says Patrick Kelley, vice president of the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter.
“By providing a tailored experience to startups, we facilitate the ideal market fit for scale and sustainability of their innovations. Ultimately, by opening new markets for them, we can also provide low-income families with affordable products and services, making their homes resilient and safer, especially in the context of Covid-19.”
Selected ventures will go through a virtual acceleration programme, testing and validating their business models with the support of industry experts and mentors. Then the startups will have opportunities to connect with global partners, investors and ShelterTech alumni. The accelerator is being co-designed by Village Capital in the Andean region and Villgro Philippines and Global Urban Village in Southeast Asia.
“Southeast Asia has a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, and many startups are born from founders’ aspirations to develop solutions that can transform their communities and cities,” says Priya Thachadi, cofounder and CEO of Villgro Philippines.
“Housing is often an overlooked, under-valued sector in the impact investment space, and we are excited to partner with Habitat to fill the gap between new and great ideas and the enormous market potential that exists in the region,” she concludes.
In each region, the accelerator seeks for-profit companies with a minimum viable product, a meaningful customer or business validation and products and services that can improve housing liveability and affordability.
Companies with housing-related solutions in sectors such as materials, labor, finance, land, markets, energy and water and sanitation, especially those whose products and services can address Covid-19 challenges, are encouraged to apply.
ShelterTech is supported by a network of key partners, including Autodesk Foundation, Dow, the Hilti Foundation and the Keith V. Kiernan Foundation. Applications have been extended until Oct. 19, 2020. Interested companies can apply on habitat.org/sheltertech/participate.