Kosmos Energy has announced the five agric-focused enterprises as winners of the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) AgriTech Challenge, a business competition where young entrepreneurs use innovation and information communication technology (ICT) to develop commercial solution to challenges within the agriculture sector.
After nine months of the competition, eight business teams emerged with viable concepts worth supporting for development.
Kosmos Energy will provide $50,000 in seed funding to two of these businesses, as well as sponsor them through a twelve-month incubation period to help ensure the businesses' success.
This year the KIC programme attracted additional investment from two of its programe partners, DAI with sponsorship package of $20,000 and the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology with package of $100,000, to fund an additional three business teams.
This bring the number of business teams receiving start-up and developments investment funding at for 2018 AgricTech Challenge to a total of five.
The KIC selected teams are:
⦁ TechShelta, which provides technological support to greenhouse farmers in Ghana and beyond to help them optimize production. Their system enables farmers to control humidity in their greenhouses, and record and monitor their operations in real time.
⦁ Profish, which provides "Lojaanor" (Fish Market' in the Ga language), a platform which facilities the sales and delivery of fish to bulk purchasers, such as restaurants, hotels, eatery and fishmongers. Their technology also improves on existing storage and delivery systems.
In addition to the winners of the AgriTech Challenge, three other promising business teams who competed will be funded or supported by KIC partners, DAI and Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology.
The other three finalists to receive support and funding are:
⦁ Kwidex, which provides a crowd funding platform to help small holder farmers access credit facility.
⦁ Soil Solution, which provides a "do it yourself" test kit for commercial and smallholder farmers. This will help farmers to understand the exact nutrient makeup of their soil and apply the appropriate nutrient replantation method.
⦁ Growth Factor, which provides "nvoicia", a platform that enables agribusinesses to get their invoices paid in a timely fashion to improve their cash flow.
The winners were selected from over 400 young entrepreneurs who applied to be a part of the 2018 AgriTech Challenge, out of which 200 were shortlisted and interviewed, with a final 120 forming group businesses (teams) to compete for the ultimate prize.
Commenting on the successful program, Kosmos Energy vice president and country manager, Joe Mensah said: "Kosmos Energy is driving innovation in Ghana's agricultural sector."
Joe Mensah told Business Day that, "We look forward to similar success in the future with the AgriTech Challenge and our new acceleration program, which is aimed at helping established small and mid-sized businesses reach the next stage of growth"
Director of Portfolio at Kosmos Energy Ghana, Ashwin Ravichandran stated, that over the past two years, MEST has incubated six innovative AgriTech companies through the Kosmos Innovation Center. These companies, he noted, have gone to win DEMO Africa, Pitch AgricHack, and many more.
"We believe it is the training they receive from Kosmos Energy while participating in the KIC AgriTech Challenge and then he support they receive during the incubation at MEST that truly makes them stand apart. We cannot wait to welcome the next generation of KIC companies into out Accra incubator and further the partnership between MEST and Kosmos Energy."
Advisory Council Member at Kosmos Energy Ghana, Ms. Abena Amoah, who gave the keynote address on the theme: Innovative CSI-Developing Young Entrepreneurs to Transform Ghana's Economy.
She indicated that encouraging the youth to go into Agricuture through the use of technological innovation is commendable through value-addition to the natural resources and cash crop in Ghana.
The goal of the Kosmos Innovation Center is to harness the youth to leverage information, communication, and technology (ICT) and innovation to solve some of the country's development problems, the choice of agriculture as your first focus sector, and particularly blazing the trail in nurturing and creating E-Agribusiness in Ghana must be commended.
"The nature and future of work itself is changing, thanks to automation, Government and the private sector need to plan today for how to actively engage this young population and equip them to be problem solving, opportunity-enhancing entrepreneurs", she further stated.
Applications for the 2019 KIC AgriTech Challenge has been opened and closes on 30th November, 2018.All interested young people and future entrepreneurs are encouraged to find out more and apply massively through Kosmos Innovation Center site.