Earlier in March this year, Kosmos Energy in partnership with MEST launched a new flagship corporate social investment programme, the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) and the KIC AgriTech Challenge in Accra with the aim of nurturing the development of market-based solutions developed by young Ghanaian technology entrepreneurs addressing the various development challenges across the agriculture sector’s value chain.
After months of a rigorous application, idea validation and selection process, Kosmos Energy today announced the winners of the first ever KIC AgriTech Challenge, a competition that invited young entrepreneurs from across Ghana to pitch innovative and commercially viable solutions to challenges within the AgriTech space. Prior to the final pitches, the KIC-sponsored research tour took participants to five regions in Ghana – the Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern, Ashanti, and Brong-Ahafo regions – to interact directly with farmers and agribusinesses to test their assumptions and collect valuable input.
After thorough research, collaboration and pitching to a panel of industry expert judges, 2 teams have been announced winners of the competition and will receive US$50,000 each in seed funding in addition to technical assistance from the KIC, as well as mentorship from the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, to help take their ideas off the ground.
The 2 teams, TroTro Tractor and Ghalani were selected from a pool of more than 100 young entrepreneurs from all over Ghana by a panel of judges drawn from Ghana’s Ministry of Agriculture, academia, and private sector enterprises.
TroTro Tractor, provide a GPS enabled mobile platform that connects farmers to mechanized farming equipment within their vicinity whenever they need them, enabling them to request, schedule, and pre-pay tractor services.
Ghalani is a farm management platform that helps agricultural aggregators, who often have to manage relationships with thousands of small-holder farmers, to efficiently organize, manage and monitor these farmers to improve productivity and reduce risks.
With MEST as the official incubation partner to KIC, both winning teams will operate out of the MEST Incubator facility with full access to the MEST community and resources as well as access to hands on expert and technical support from the MEST team.
Katie Sarro (Managing Director, MEST) said, “We’re thrilled to be working with Kosmos Energy on the Kosmos Innovation Center and agritech accelerator. This a mutually beneficial partnership whereby each party brings their respective strengths to the table.
We especially appreciate Kosmos’ dedication in bringing the necessary expertise within the agriculture sector. That, combined with our expertise in building world-class tech companies, is an unstoppable combo that has already demonstrated a lot of promise.
We’re proud at what we’ve accomplished thus far: we have identified opportunities where there are gaps within the agriculture sector, worked closely with Kosmos on market research and validation, identified the strongest teams to solve these challenges, and we look forward to continuing to mentor and nurture these promising agritech startups through funding, incubation, and business and technical support”.
Commenting on the successful program, Kosmos Energy vice president and country manager Joe Mensah said: “We are onto something big. This program encourages smart young entrepreneurs to look at agriculture differently. With the type of innovation fostered by the KIC, our young people can make it a more dynamic sector and attractive career path with plenty of opportunity. I am thrilled with the tremendous response that we have gotten from young people who want to be a part of this effort to transform Ghana. As we move on to the second competition in 2017, I would like to encourage other companies to join us as we invest in these promising young people and the businesses they are creating to improve agriculture in Ghana.”
The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) is Kosmos Energy’s flagship social investment program in Ghana. It uses innovation to create and apply commercial solutions to development challenges, starting with agriculture. To learn more about KIC, visit the website: www.kosmosinnovationcenter.com
Founded in 2008, The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) is a non-profit program established by Meltwater with the goal of equipping high potential young Africans with the skills required to launch globally successful software companies, enabling them to create jobs and wealth locally to stimulate economic growth across the African economy.
Also published on Medium.