AgricTech Challenge Investment Decision Award

Remarks by Joe Mensah, Country Manager

Distinguished Guests
Our KIC AgriTechies
Our friends in the Media
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my pleasure to welcome you again to the Kosmos Innovation Center AgriTech Challenge Investment Decision Award. Barely seven months ago, Kosmos Energy launched its new and exciting flagship social investment program, the Kosmos Innovation Center. At that time, reflecting on the values of Kosmos as a company and demonstrating its long-term commitment to Ghana’s development, we said that
• KIC will harness the power of entrepreneurship to drive inclusive economic growth in Ghana.
• KIC will use innovation and entrepreneurship to stimulate the private sector and apply commercial solutions to solve some developmental challenges in Ghana, starting with agriculture.
• Our primary target is the future generation of Ghanaians.

Today we have reached a milestone, we are here to announce the first winners of the KIC Challenge.
A two-day workshop that brought together a mix of agribusiness representatives, local technology specialists, young entrepreneurs and students, and a group of senior mentors to set the stage for the competition. Through these series of innovation-focused events and competitions, we challenged young entrepreneurs to build the foundation of commercially-viable agritech products solutions to address challenges in the Ghanaian agricultural sector.

When we rolled out the challenge, we received over one hundred applications from all over the country. We were quite surprised and overwhelmed by the level of response. Forty –four entrepreneurs were selected to participate in KIC challenge activities, resulting in the formation of 11 teams who went on to develop business concepts to tackle everything from combating fake agricultural inputs to creating a financial credit history for small-holder farmers. Through the program, these young entrepreneurs learned how to develop business plans, design technology platforms, and pitch their concepts to potential investors.

Over the months that followed, these young entrepreneurs who we affectionately call “AgriTechies’ have indeed shown a lot of passion and determination to make a difference in the agribusiness space. They have gone through other collaborative events; training sessions and mentoring, research tours, several capacity building activities and two ‘pitch’ sessions where teams presented their final ideas, competing to receive the ultimate award of USD 50,000 in seed funding in addition to technical assistance from KIC and to spend the next year in the incubator at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) to launch their businesses.

Distinguished, ladies and gentlemen, for the last 12 years, we have worked hard to demonstrate to the people of Ghana that we are a long-term partner, committed to working with the country to reach its full potential. In addition to building a vibrant and world-class petroleum industry, our vision is to use the KIC programme to share our success and bring positive change to the areas where we operate, and in Ghana more broadly.

Playing the role of an angel investor we will continue to support young entrepreneurs and we hope to contribute to solving some of Ghana’s most pressing developmental challenges. We want to set KIC apart from the traditional approach to corporate social responsibility by promoting innovation, private sector enterprise, and entrepreneurship.
To the entire participants, I would like to congratulate you for being part of this maiden programme. You will all agree with me that there is no loser in this challenge as I am aware that you are still pursuing your businesses and also that some of you have already had funding from key supports. We will continue to create more opportunities for KIC to collaborate with you at least to excite other young entrepreneurs to take advantage of our next challenge.

Distinguished, ladies and gentlemen, now the two winning teams selected to receive seed funding and incubation are :

• Trotro Tractor Ltd, which is developing a platform that uses mobile phones and GPS units to connect farmers to tractor operators within their vicinity, enabling them to request, schedule, and pre-pay tractor services. The platform gives farmers greater access to mechanized farming equipment.

• Ghalani, which is creating farm management software that helps agricultural aggregators, who often have to manage relationships with thousands of small-holder farmers, to efficiently organize, manage and monitor these farmers to improve productivity and reduce risks.

Ladies and gentlemen I thank you all for being here!