Our Focus

Shell Foundation works across four programme areas to tackle some of the world’s biggest development challenges. We focus our efforts on major obstacles to inclusive growth where we can best leverage our experience and networks.

Our teams work proactively to identify the underlying market failures behind these challenges and deploy entrepreneurial thinking to solve them. We form long-term partnerships with a small number of entrepreneurs to co-create new disruptive solutions – deploying a blend of business skills support and grant funding to support innovation and achieve large-scale impact.

Access To Energy

Improving access to affordable & reliable energy products & services for low-income consumers

Households rely on energy to meet basic needs such as cooking, heating and lighting. Businesses and farms need energy to improve productivity and generate income.

Society relies on energy for essential community services such as healthcare, sanitation and education. Energy is critical to all these activities – yet well over two billion people lack access to reliable and affordable power.

What can be done to change this?


d.light, Dharma Life, Envirofit, Husk, IntelleGrow, M-KOPA, responsAbility, Redavia, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Factor(E)


Sustainable Mobility

Catalysing more sustainable ways to move people and goods around developing world countries

Rapid urbanisation and increased demand for goods and services in developing countries has severe economic, social and environmental consequences for the world’s poorest people.

70% of CO2 emissions come from cities and 85% of the world’s traffic fatalities occur in developing countries.

With over half the world now living in cities, forecast to rise to 75% of the population by 2050, what can be done to catalyse and scale new solutions to move people and goods more efficiently?


EMBARQ, Smart Freight Centre, Tusker


Sustainable Job Creation

Supporting small and medium-sized enterprises to drive job creation and economic growth.

SMEs contribute more than half of annual growth in OECD countries – and nearly two thirds of employment.

By contrast, entrepreneurs who seek to start and grow businesses are woefully under-served, with the SME sector in some parts of Africa contributing less than 15% to annual GDP.

Emerging markets are missing out on a huge potential driver of inclusive economic growth and job creation as a result.





Innovating new technologies and business models to achieve lasting development impact at scale.

Our Incubator aims to catalyse radical new ideas to solve global development challenges at scale.

We build extensive networks with experts and innovators to identify critical gaps in markets – then work with a limited number of entrepreneurs to pilot high-potential yet high-risk solutions that could disrupt the status-quo.



Where do we work?

Our geographical focus is on Africa and Asia, where issues such as access to energy, urban mobility and job creation through the SME sector are major obstacles to sustainable development. Most of our partners establish initial operations in these regions. As they mature we seek ways to support their international expansion into under-served markets across Latin America and the Middle East.

Several of our social enterprise partners are now delivering significant social and environmental impact across the world.

Read more about Shell Foundation’s overall impact.

Former Programmes

Sustainable Supply Chains


Subscribe to the Shell Foundation newsletter

Subscribe to this report