Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and Honourable Minister. We’re very excited to join Kosmos today to finally launch the KIC. I’d also like to acknowledge our senior leadership team, and some of our entrepreneurs and trainees who have also joined us today.
As George rightly mentioned, MEST was founded in 2008, with the vision of building globally successful software companies. Implicit in this is the underlying theme that talent can be found anywhere. To date, we’ve invested $25 million in the program across both training and incubation. We have over 200 graduates, and over 20 start-ups who are focused on the local, Pan-African and broader global markets.
Our training program also recently transitioned from a two to a one year program, providing students with training in core technical and business concepts. Rather than teaching entrepreneurship, we focus on identifying talent and equipping them with the skills that they need to successful. We’ve also chosen to take a Pan-African approach to trainee recruitment and expanded our scope to include Nigeria and Kenya in addition to Ghana.
While our core competency is technology, we are not tied to a particular industry or even geography as shown by the current spread of our companies. We are, however, very excited to specifically include agriculture as part of our focus, given that it presents an immediately relatable application of technology which is relevant in our part of the world. Africa is often characterized as the ‘next frontier’ and an opportunity for growth which in turn raises questions of sustainability and as a logical follow-on food security.
Sadly, as we envision this growth and its related requirements, agriculture (a key part of the conversation) is often excluded and de-prioritized especially in instances when employment and technology are part of the conversation. Through this partnership, we hope to actively work towards dispelling this notion by identifying some of the very real ways in which there is overlap and driving towards workable solutions.
It’s been a pleasure engaging with Kosmos over the last year to define our partnership, and we are very excited about the official beginning of our relationship and the road ahead.