Business

Kosmos Innovation Center announces winner of 2020 Agritech challenge

The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) has announced the winners of the 2020 AgriTech Challenge, a business competition aimed at developing the next generation of young entrepreneurs in Ghana’s agriculture sector.

This year’s winners are:

• OASAL Group – a new start-up that produces affordable ethanol from cashew apples,
enabling farmers to earn additional income.

• Fruitflour – a new start-up that produces and packages nutritious ready-to-serve baby
food from fruits and vegetables.

The winners of the 2020 AgriTech Challenge will receive US$50,000 in seed funding, as well as
up to four years of business training, mentorship, and incubation at the Kosmos Innovation
Center Hub located in Dworwulu. At the incubation centre, OASAL Group and Fruitflour will learn
how to turn their ideas into viable businesses.

Promising teams that did not win seed funding are eligible to continue benefitting from coaching offered by the Kosmos Innovation Center.

Mr. Joe Mensah, Senior Vice President and Head of the Ghana Business Unit for Kosmos Energy and Chairman of the Kosmos Innovation Center’s Board of Directors, said: “The participants involved in the 2020 AgriTech Challenge deeply impressed me with their determination to succeed despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. The quality of the teams, their entrepreneurial spirit, and the potential of their business ideas are all testament to the work of everyone at the Kosmos Innovation Center. I would like to congratulate the winners, OASAL Group and Fruitflour and wish them future success.”

The 2020 AgriTech Challenge began in December 2019 with 150 young entrepreneurs selected from more than 1,000 applicants. The AgriTech Challenge identifies young people who are interested in starting a business and provides them with a system of training, workshops and support.

The program uses coaching and market research tours across Ghana to encourage participants to take a fresh look at the agriculture value chain and identify new areas of business opportunity.

The goal is to show them what’s possible, personally and professionally, if they’re willing to put in the effort.

Business training and mentorships are delivered at key stages in the AgriTech Challenge program
and as part of a life-cycle of development and support.

Individual competitors establish teams

and participate in a series of pitch and elimination events, during which they present their ideas
to a panel of judges.

Seed funding is offered to the final high-potential teams who go on to enter the dedicated incubator program. The AgriTech Challenge has identified, nurtured, and funded some of the most promising youth-driven start-ups in Ghana today.

Mr. Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, Director of the Kosmos Innovation Center, said: “Kosmos Innovation Center will continue to support young entrepreneurs who are interested in transforming Ghana’s agriculture sector. The newly introduced AgriTech Challenge Pro is currently accepting applications.”

The KIC AgriTech Challenge Pro is an acceleration program aimed at equipping existing early-stage teams or AgriTech startups with the right tools, funding and support to bring their business ideas or products to market and prepare them to scale.

The program was developed to create opportunities for teams that are already formed and looking to take their business to the next stage.

KIC AgriTech Challenge Pro takes an inclusive approach, offering its services to all agricultural business teams in accordance with KIC’s goal of developing talent and advancing innovation in Ghana.

Cargill Ghana is providing technical support to the 2021 KIC AgriTech Challenge Pro and has
donated US$100,000 to the program.

The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) in Ghana is a non-profit organization that invests in young
entrepreneurs and small businesses.

“We empower entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into viable, self-sustaining businesses and we work alongside promising small businesses to help them scale and reach their full potential.”

“Each Kosmos Innovation Center program is driven by local staff and private sector experts,
resulting in a distinctive focus on commercial solutions and local knowledge. Our customized,
best-in-class business support programs feature a mix of skills training, mentorship and seed
funding.”

Since the program’s inception in 2016, more than 600 young leaders have been trained in
business skills and entrepreneurship through participation in the AgriTech Challenge and other
KIC programs. Some of the more than 16 start-ups formed and incubated by the Kosmos
Innovation Center has secured additional investment and gone on to win other start-ups
competitions.

In 2018, the Kosmos Innovation Center won the prestigious P3 Impact Award, which recognizes
public-private partnerships (P3) that are improving communities and the world in the most
impactful ways.

The P3 Impact Award was created by Concordia, the University of Virginia

arden School Institute for Business in Society, and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of
Global Partnerships.

In 2019 and 2020, the Ghana Business Awards recognized Kosmos Energy for Excellence in
Corporate Social Responsibility for its role in creating and funding the Kosmos Innovation
Center. Kosmos Energy has invested US $6 million in the KIC and its activities since 2016.

Source: Ghana Business

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