New AgriTechies enrolled on the third season of the AgriTech Challenge 2018, have attended an ice breaking event on 22nd January. The event was organized to allow new AgriTechies to meet and interacted with each other and to help some of whom might become their future business partners in the coming months. It was also an opportunity for the them to meet Kosmos Energy and the KIC programme executives, partners – Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, (MEST), The Premium Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Addressing the AgriTechies Joe Mensah, Kosmos Energy’s Vice President and Country Manager, said “This is our third round of the AgriTech Challenge and we are very excited about it! Your presence here today is an indication that the interest and participation in the AgriTech Challenge is growing. He urged them to think differently, share ideas, create partnerships, acknowledge challenges but be persistent.
The guest speaker for the event Prof Tagoe, Provost, College of Education/Dean School of Continuing and Distance Education was represented by Prof. Olivia Kwapong, Lecturer, Institute of Continuing and Distance Education, University of Ghana. He emphasised on youth participation in nation building through job creation, especially through innovations in the agribusiness value chain. Other KIC partner representatives addressed the group on a series of topics to help them appreciate what it takes to succeed as entrepreneurs. Mr. Kwasi Tumi, Managing Director of Premium Bank presented on how to attract the attention of an investor; Ms. Ayesha Bedwei, PwC Tax Partner and West Africa Corporate Responsibility Leader, on tailored finance capacity building workshops and Mr. Todd Holcombe, Faculty Head of MEST delivered on the outcome of incubation.
This year, Kosmos will introduce the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) fellowship/alumni programme. This will be a KIC community of all past participants and partners. The objective is to create a hub of change agents and thought leadership focused on agriculture and innovation.
More than 500 young people applied to be part of this year’s challenge. Two hundred were shortlisted and interviewed, and a final one hundred twenty-one selected. It is expected that 25 to 30 businesses (groups) will be formed to compete for the ultimate prize, which includes seed funding and technical assistance.
For the next seven months, the new entrepreneurs will participate in a range of activities, including capacity building sessions and market research tours, before pitching and defending their business plans in front of a panel of judges comprised of senior experts from diverse sectors, such as agribusiness, ICT, academia and finance. As in past Challenges, the AgriTechies will embark on a series of market research tours, in the ten regions of Ghana to deepen their understanding of the agriculture value chain and agribusiness operations.
The first market research tour, in six regions Greater Accra, Eastern, Ashanti, Volta, Brong-Ahafo and Northern – for the first leg, is scheduled for February 6th through to 15th 2018.
Another key component is the AgriTech Exchange, which comes of later this month in February, will again bring together experts from agriculture, agribusiness, finance, ICT, and academia to identify the key challenges in the agriculture value chain. The entrepreneurs will attempt to find solutions to sector challenges identified at the AgriTech Exchange.
2018 is another opportunity for Kosmos Energy to create a couple more businesses driven by Ghana’s young people through the challenge issued by the Kosmos Innovation Center. We are pleased to be a partner in building Ghana’s future.