New businesses seek to address issues with pest control, soil quality and to provide Ghanaian farmers with better access to finance and information, and more.
Eight business teams have been selected to proceed to the final round of the Kosmos Innovation Center AgriTech Challenge programme. The AgriTech Challenge is an annual competition that encourages young entrepreneurs to take a fresh look at the agriculture value chain and to identify new areas of business opportunity.
Out of 14 teams that made it to the second pitch and elimination event on the 28th June 2018, just eight promising businesses were selected to continue. An expert panel of judges called the Ideation Team assessed the business viability of each idea presented on the day. The teams found to have the most scalable, practical and innovative business concepts were:
- Farm Cure, resolves challenges with pest control
- Soil Solution, resolves challenges with soil quality
- Growth Factor, provides access to finance information
- Tech Shelta, provides farm management services
- Lojaanor, provides market linkages
- Alpha (rotate), provides access to skilled labour and information
- AgroSol, provides agro-processing and market linkages
- Quidex, provides access to finance information.
The surviving teams will now have three months, from July to September, to develop their business concepts further and develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) before the final pitch. The objective of this is to ensure that the entrepreneurs have viable prototypes of their products ready so that they can be tested out by potential future users, customers and investors. This element was added to the programme structure in 2017 and has proved to be very useful, giving teams the opportunity to really validate their products before the final pitch. The Kosmos Innovation Center intends to continue with this measure in future AgriTech Challenge programmes. Teams are also required to build a solid marketing and scalability plan prior to the final pitch, drawing on what they have learned from their capability and skills training sessions.
Some Ghanaian and international companies and institutions were invited to attend the pitch event in June – including Puma Energy, OCP Africa, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, RMG-Ghana, KOICA-Ghana, YARA and the Netherlands Embassy.
Joe Mensah, VP and country manager for Ghana said: “We encourage corporate Ghana and other institutions to join hands with Kosmos Energy to support youth-led businesses to grow and develop, just like Premium Bank of Ghana and the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) did in 2017. Together we can drive sustainable innovation in the agriculture sector and contribute to tackling Ghana’s youth unemployment challenge. By empowering one entrepreneur at a time, we are investing in a brighter future.”