Housing poverty in Ethiopia exposes many citizens to unsafe and unsanitary living conditions. Habitat for Humanity reports that 43% of homes in the nation have pit latrines in the absence of a toilet, thus making sanitation hardly accessible. Currently, many homes are mainly built using wood and mud, often leading to inadequate coverage from natural disasters and unexpected events. Kubik, an Ethiopian startup, seeks to change these conditions by revolutionizing affordable housing in Ethiopia.
The startup owes its origins to the humanitarian vision of its founders, Kidus Asfaw, CEO, and Penda Marre, Chief Production Officer. Asfaw and Marre, who are “children of Africa,” according to Kubik’s website, use their own experiences to overturn the housing crisis that affects countless Ethiopians. With 35 million Ethiopians or 44% of the population living in extreme poverty, Kubik’s promise to provide access to affordable housing can alleviate the extent to which poverty impacts daily activities.
While Kubik’s overarching goal is to implement affordable housing in Ethiopia, it also remains committed to ensuring that its process is dignified, clean and sustainable. In doing so, it seeks to construct durable, long-lasting homes for Ethiopians while pioneering innovative practices and methods that help the country and the environment.
Kubik’s Revolutionary Process
Mainly, Kubik operates with a process that reinvents the ways that builders typically construct homes. Moving away from wood and mud materials, this company focuses on using low-carbon products. The mission-focused startup transforms plastic waste into low-carbon products that are suitable for construction and resistant to damage due to unpredictable natural disasters, for example. By turning waste into a useful tool, Kubik helps lower the emission of harmful gasses into the environment.
Using recycled waste is also significantly cheaper than using traditional construction materials. As a result, the final price of a home can be set at a reasonable figure, ultimately helping those who seek better conditions but cannot afford to purchase accommodating costs. The appeal of strong, environmentally-friendly materials coupled with the cost-effective prices attracts the attention of larger corporations that further Kubik’s success.
Kubik Gains Attention and Support
As Kubik entered the field with its revolutionary idea, companies and entrepreneurs immediately recognized the need to invest in this talent. The Global Startup Awards (GSA), which awards entrepreneurial efforts and promotes financial success via connection to stakeholders and investors, named Kubik as the 2023 Startup of the Year. This honor helped increase national and international acclaim for the company, which further expanded Kubik’s growth.
Kubik also earned a title as a prime ClimateTech Startup from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an honor that furnished the company partnerships with large firms and investors. Romain Diaz, a founder of VC Satgana, a fellow ClimateTech Startup, expressed a commitment to join forces with Kubik and streamline the execution of its housing venture. Within the past year, Kubik has successfully raised more than $3.34 million.
Kubik’s Saving Grace
As Kubik provides affordable housing in Ethiopia, it also has a second goal of creating effective social change. The founders, along with staff members, will take control of the waste sector in Ethiopia to alleviate the unfair and unsafe conditions that women experience in this field. Traditionally, women sort through piles of plastic, without regulation, and earn little to no profit for their work. However, with Kubik’s help, female waste collectors can work in safe conditions and live in a specially-made home constructed by the company. This necessary change in the waste management sector will allow women to earn a steady income and receive financial autonomy.
As Kubik continues to expand affordable housing in Ethiopia and provide jobs to women waste collectors, the company will expand from its headquarters to other nations outside of its borders. With financial support from large companies and established investors, Kubik can implement significant change in developing nations. In time, there is hope that the Ethiopian-based startup, with its future-forward mission, will empower individuals and limit the extent of housing poverty with its cost-effective solutions.
– Maddy Grieco