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Kosmos Energy hosts first round of 2019 Mauritania Innovation Challenge business pitch competition

Kosmos Energy announces that the Kosmos Innovation Center’s (KIC) 2019 Mauritania Innovation Challenge first pitch took place at the Kosmos Innovation Center Incubator in Nouakchott on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 November. The Mauritania Innovation Challenge is a business competition where young entrepreneurs develop the skills needed to grow their own viable, innovative businesses. The two-day event saw teams pitch their ideas to a jury of experts. The top teams advanced to the next stage of the competition.

The 2019 Mauritania Innovation Challenge received over 500 applications from young men and women across the country, resulting in the selection of 36 teams for the competition. Seven of these teams were selected from the KIC Women’s Bootcamp that ran for a week in August aimed at arming young Mauritanian women with the necessary skills and confidence to become successful entrepreneurs.

In the first part of the competition from August to October, participants have taken courses in entrepreneurship, received individualized coaching and have been encouraged to work on how they present and explain their businesses.

The entrepreneurs pitched to a jury who determined which entrepreneurs were qualified to advance to the next round of the competition. The jury used detailed evaluation criteria to measure the quality of the presentation and the viability of the business idea. Only 13 teams have moved to the second stage of the challenge, where they will receive more entrepreneurship training, coaching and support to further refine their business ideas ahead of the final pitch at the end of the year.

Ismail Sid Ahmed, Kosmos Energy Country Manager, said, “The Mauritania Innovation Challenge is designed to help equip entrepreneurial talent with the right training and support to transform business ideas into successful businesses. This is the second year Kosmos Energy has run this program in Mauritania, following a successful program last year, and we can’t wait to see more young people turn their ideas into reality!”

The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) is the flagship social investment initiative launched by Kosmos Energy in 2016. The Mauritania Innovation Challenge program, launched in 2018, provides the opportunity for young people in Mauritania to develop the confidence and skills they need to become entrepreneurs through a series of study-based modules and competitive pitch competitions over the course of four months. The prize package includes seed funding, incubation support and further coaching – all designed to give them the skills and tools needed to successfully and sustainably launch their own businesses. The final competition winners will be announced early in 2020.