In Ghana, the fisheries industry is extremely important as the food supply for the local community and as a driver for the local economy. With the rich waters of the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana’s fishing communities have access to fishing grounds teaming with high-quality fish.
Profish (Lajaanor) is a local business using technology to improve Ghana’s fisheries supply chain, ensuring deliveries are always fresh. Through connecting fishers with fish processors, retailers, and restaurants, Profish is enabling the local community to improve logistical efficiency while decreasing cost.
The Kosmos Innovation Center’s (KIC) AgriTech Challenge, an annual competition held in Ghana, encourages young entrepreneurs to spot opportunities to transform the country’s agricultural sector through innovation, powered by technology.
In the KIC AgriTech Challenge, participants join together to become teams. Caroline Pomeyie, Alex Gbetie, Emmanuel Apeku, and Aflakpui Setor joined together to become Profish (Lajaanor).
The team noticed that the fisheries supply chain could be significantly improved by leveraging technology. With the team’s range of skills from across agriculture, mobile web development, entrepreneurialism, and shipping and ports, they developed a team structure that would make sure everyone’s skills were utilized.
To ensure teams fully understand the challenges faced by those in Ghana’s agricultural sector, market research tours were organized by the KIC early in the program. The participants visited different coastal regions in Ghana – the Greater Accra, Volta, and Eastern regions – over two weeks. This gave them a unique opportunity to interact directly with farmers and others in the wider industry. During these meetings, the young entrepreneurs tested their assumptions and business ideas and collected valuable data and feedback.
From these market research tours, the team was able to see the problems and challenges facing different areas of the fisheries sector. The team developed insight into how technology could assist and improve the daily experience of fishermen, fish processors, retailers, and restaurants.
In addition to the tours, the team worked closely with coaches. The coaching sessions, as well as the business skills training sessions, helped the team refine their idea and to make it into a scalable business that has true potential to succeed in Ghana’s large agriculture and fisheries industry.
After months of rigorous pitch and elimination events, where participants present their business plans to an expert panel of judges for critical review and feedback, Profish (Lajaanor) was named as one of the winners of the KIC Agritech Challenge in 2018. Profish (Lajaanor) received $50,000 seed-funding from Kosmos Energy and entered into a business incubator. Here, the young company received more training and support designed to help them grow and scale-up successfully.
Speaking about the program, Profish commented: “KIC reshaped our thinking and has given us the platform to explore our abilities with new insights into the agribusiness space. It has been life changing and we have never regretted taking the chance. We had that passion to add value to the agriculture value chain through IT, and KIC gave us that opportunity, but not only the opportunity, also the support and the exposure to make that passion real and ending up with the solid company.”
Where they are today
In addition to winning $50,000 in seed funding to start their business, Profish is continuing to receive additional technical training and support to develop, refine, and grow their business. The team is working toward to become investment ready and to introduce its solution across Ghana.