Winners of the 2019-2020 Mauritania Innovation Challenge announced
- Green House takes first place with their hydroponic business, receiving seed funding of US$25,000
- Kosmos Energy supports growth of entrepreneurship ecosystem in Mauritania
- Company brings in additional funding from Banque Nationale de Mauritanie and SOGECO to deliver total investment in seven winning businesses of US$97,000
Kosmos Energy today announces the winners of the 2019-2020 Mauritania Innovation Challenge (MIC), part of the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC).
Over the past six months, hundreds of program participants across 37 teams have received training in key business skills, as well as coaching and expert mentorship to help them succeed in their future business ventures.
Of the 13 teams that made it to the final pitch event, the seven winning entrepreneurs convinced the judges that their business ideas can contribute to Mauritania’s economic development, tackle unemployment and evolve the local start-up ecosystem.
1. Green House won 25,000 USD funded by Kosmos Energy for their business idea of a hydroponic production system to grow plants in an economical and eco-friendly way.
2. Ferme Pisicole won 20,000 USD funded by Kosmos Energy for their business idea of fish farms that improve the quality of fish production.
3. Solar Ecobat won 15,000 USD funded by Kosmos Energy for their business idea of solar lamps to solve the problem of frequent blackout in rural areas.
4. Unite de Valorisation Pneumatique won 10,000 USD funded by Kosmos Energy for their business idea of recycling tires into new materials for industrial use.
5. Baradougou won 10,000 USD funded by Kosmos Energy for their business idea of a web platform for companies and households to connect with service providers.
6. Société Mauritanienne de Nettoyage won 300,000 MRU funded by SOGECO for their business idea of a cleaning company that focuses on large fishing factories.
7. L’Apiculture Moderne won 300,000 MRU funded by BNM for their business idea of improved honey production by placing bee colonies in protected areas.
The jury was composed of executives from BNM, BCI and Societe Generale, entrepreneurship and microfinance specialists as well as managers in important local companies. Speaking at the event, jury president and UN expert Abdoulaye N’diaye emphasized the importance of the KIC in supporting young people in Mauritania.
Ismail Sid Ahmed, Kosmos Energy Country Manager, said: “Kosmos is committed to being a partner to Mauritania, so it’s fantastic to see the MIC produce such a range and caliber of young entrepreneurs ready to create jobs and revolutionize their industries.”
“But today is not just about the winners; every participant of the MIC will walk away with invaluable experience and a refined skill set preparing them to develop their careers and boost the local economy.”
A study by the Mauritanian Center for Policy Analysis conducted among Mauritanian students, found that 75% wish they could start their own company, however only 22% felt adequately prepared to launch and maintain a business.
The KIC aims to tackle this challenge directly through the MIC program; through its partnerships and support for local startup incubators; and by collaborating with other institutions such as BNM and SOGECO to make starting a business in Mauritania more accessible to the country’s young people.
The KIC also hosts a Women’s Bootcamp in Mauritania, providing young women the same opportunity to become successful entrepreneurs.
The awards ceremony was attented by dignitaries including the Minister of Employment, Youth and Sports. Other institutions represented included: the Central Bank; the Ministry of Oil, Energy and Mining; the Youth Council; and Mauritania’s youth associations, entrepreneurship incubators and higher education institutions.
Applications to the third KIC Mauritania Innovation Challenge open in during the summer of 2020. For more information, visit and follow the Kosmos Innovation Center Mauritania Facebook page (www.facebook.com/KosmosInnovationCenter) for future announcements.