Twenty-five AgriTech Business Teams competing in the Kosmos Innovation Center 2017 AgriTech Challenge have embarked on a series of market research tours across six regions to validate business plans they have formulated after attending a two day AgriTech Exchange workshop.
From 29 January to 6 February 2017, the young entrepreneurs took part in the first Market Research tour covering four regions in Ghana, namely, the Eastern, Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and Northern Regions.
The first trip was arranged to give the entrepreneurs a feel of the agricultural landscape and the opportunity to interact with top CEOs and staff of fourteen institutions in Ghana across the agricultural value chain.
The market research tour was an eye opener for the entrepreneurs, opening up networking opportunities with institutions and farmers. This is a critical piece for the entrepreneurs as it lays the foundation for future collaboration.
The teams returned Accra to participate in the AgriTech Exchange, a two day event which consists of a series of highly interactive and informative brainstorming sessions and business plan mini pitches aimed at helping the young entrepreneurs build the foundation of commercially-viable AgriTech start-ups.
The event brought together a mix of Ghanaian agribusiness representatives, local technology specialists, and financial institutions. In addition, the event also a group of senior mentors to spur technology innovations designed to address the needs of Ghana’s agricultural sector.
The first day of the AgriTech Exchange was dedicated to the young entrepreneurs’ interaction with key players in the industry to discuss, receive support, suggestions and in-depth information about the agriculture.
The AgriTechies pitched their preliminary business plans to a panel of judges and other stakeholders for feedback. The second day was solely for the entrepreneurs to refine tune their problem statements, turning them into well-packaged business plans ready for pitching to the panel of judges later in the year.
Key stakeholders identified and prioritized a number of areas as the most pressing needs across Ghana’s agricultural value chain, including Livestock/Poultry/Fisheries management, on-farm Production and Post-Harvest Challenges, Technical and Market Information for Farmers and agro processes, Finance and Insurance, and the ability to track food sources and authenticate agro-inputs.
The entrepreneurs have now embarked on a second market research tour that will serve as an exercise to validate business plans developed in response to the challenges identified at the AgriTech Exchange.
By the end of the two research tours, the AgriTechies are expected to have learned about the Agricultural value chain, including knowing the opportunities and challenges in the agriculture space and how they can develop and refine viable businesses solutions to address them. This is also in preparation towards the first business plan pitches on 28 April 2017.
Kosmos Energy’s vice president and country manager, Joe Mensah said: “The 2016 season was very successful. We supported the creation of two start-up companies which are currently being incubated. We are encouraged by the huge response we have received from young entrepreneurs during this second season.
At the end of the day, we are aiming to increase young people’s awareness of opportunities within agriculture so they can help to breathe new life into the sector. This is what we have committed to do as a partner in Ghana’s development.”