Business News of Monday, 30 January 2017
Kosmos Energy Ghana has admitted a new batch of 100 new young entrepreneurs into its social investment programme, Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC), for 2017.
The enrollment will allow the young men and women from the country’s tertiary institutions to compete for grants to implement various commercial responses to increase productivity along the agricultural value chain in ways that draw on technology and smart business models.
Kosmos said it was expecting about 20 to 25 businesses groups out of the new list to compete for the ultimate prize, which includes seed funding and technical assistance.
The Vice-President and Country Manager of Kosmos Energy, Mr Joe Mensah, commended young people for rising to the challenge in the maiden edition of the Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC), dubbed: ‘AgriTech’, as it was devoted to granting seed funds to worthy start-ups to address challenges facing the agricultural sector.
He said Kosmos, as a good corporate organisation, was pleased to be a partner in building the country’s future, saying the interest of the youth had been overwhelming in that their participation in the AgriTech Challenge this year had increased significantly.
“The interest and enthusiasm shown by these young entrepreneurs promise to bring fresh thinking to agriculture and agribusiness,” Mr Mensah said.
Last year, two start-ups, Tro Tro Tractor Limited and Ghalani Limited, won the first and second places respectively in the competition and were currently in incubation having hands-on training and grooming to perform better on the market.
This year’s competition attracted more than 400 young people, out of which 200 were shortlisted and interviewed, with the number subsequently being pruned down to 100, Mr Mensah told the Daily Graphic.
He said for the next seven months, the new entrepreneurs would participate in a range of activities, including capacity-building sessions and market research tours.
KIC will group the applicants and nurture them to prepare their business plans which they will pitch to a panel of eminent judges, comprising agriculture and technology experts, lecturers, academics and financial gurus.
As part of the preparations, the team will tour parts of the country to gather first-hand information about the state of agriculture.
Mr Mensah said the tour would afford the team the opportunity to learn about agriculture and agribusiness operations, interact directly with farmers and agribusinesses, collect valuable inputs, and also validate business models they would later develop.
The experts’ round table
There will also be the AgriTech Exchange, a forum which will bring together experts from the agricultural value chain to identify key challenges in the chain.
The young entrepreneurs will attempt to find solutions to sector challenges identified at the AgriTech Exchange.
At the end of the seven-month programme, Mr Mensah explained, two businesses would be expected to win prizes of $50,000 each worth of seed funding and technical assistance from the KIC, as well as mentorship from the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), to help them turn their ideas into viable businesses.