Ten business start-ups have pitched their ideas to a panel of judges known in the AgriTech Challenge as the Ideation Team.
The start-ups – namely FarmAsyst, Fruitflour, Kiayayo, Bolstaar, Kaltivo, Faakolore, Feed Haven, Kuanijom, and OASAL – qualified from the first and second business pitches held in December 2020 and February 2021 respectively.
They were shortlisted from 23 business teams who equally pitched their business ideas for the 2020 AgriTech Challenge competition.
Two start-ups will be selected out of the 10 teams (AgriTechies) to receive seed funding amount of $50,000 each and one-year full incubation with mentoring and coaching at the KIC hub.
The 2020 AgriTech Challenge began in December 2019 with 150 young entrepreneurs selected from over 1,000 candidates who applied for the programme.
The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) is a not-for-profit organisation that invests and supports young entrepreneurs and small businesses with viable ideas in the agriculture value chain.
It trains and build capacities through the Agritech Challenge programme, incubate and support businesses through the KIC incubator and accelerates small businesses for investor readiness through the KIC Business Booster.
Since the inception of the programme in 2016, four cohorts (AgriTechies or teams) have gone through the KIC AgriTech Challenge.
A Senior Vice President and Head of Ghana Business Unit of the Kosmos Energy Ghana, Joe Mensah, said some of the start-ups that graduated from the programme have served and continue to serve thousands of Ghanaian farmers with innovative products.
He said Kosmos Energy has spent over $5 million on KIC and its related activities since 2016 to date, pointing out that through the programme, KIC has raised and incubated over 16 start-ups in Ghana.
He hinted that the Mastercard Foundation has shown interest to partner KIC to create more opportunities for African youth, hence encouraging young entrepreneurs to find innovative ways to sell their ideas.
Mr Mensah also noted that although the emergence of the Covid-19 has affected many businesses, it has also opened new ways of doing business.
He has, therefore, encouraged Ghanaian youth, particularly start-ups to take advantage of the opportunities that have come with the Covid-19 to expand their businesses and reach out to more clients.
He also expressed happiness about the high percentage of female participation in the contest, saying “it comes with different touch in an organisation”.
The Director of KIC, Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, said the mission of the KIC was to drive innovation to create and apply commercial solutions to Ghana’s key development challenges, starting with agriculture—the largest sector in Ghana’s economy.
He said the KIC was ready to support innovative ideas, urging the teams (AgriTechies) competing in the programme not to end their initiatives after the event but to continue to invest in their solutions.
He expressed the concern that often times when people are unable to win certain contests, they give up on the ideas they entered the contest with.
A former Corporate Affairs Director, George Sarpong, also encouraged the participants in the contest to continue to dream big with their ideas, saying: “That fire in the belly, if you can keep it and let it burn every day, it will take you far.”
For him, the AgriTechies, as they are called in the Challenge, can take advantage of the various trainings they have received in the programme to nurture their ideas to the fullest.
He said the AgriTechies over the past 15 months have benefited from a series of innovative activities which include over 30 training workshops, one group market research tour and two team led market research activities to help them develop their product from scratch.