Kosmos Energy has supported winners and finalists of 2018 Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC) Agritech Challenge with a business support package worth over $500,000.
The Kosmos Innovation Centre Challenge is a business competition where young entrepreneurs use innovation and Information Communication Technology (ICT) to develop commercial solutions to challenges within the agriculture sector.
The winners of the 2018 Agritech Challenge who will continue to receive support and investment from Kosmos Energy are TechShelta and Profish.
TechShelta provides technological support to greenhouse farmers in Ghana and beyond to help them optimise production. Their system enables farmers to control humidity in their greenhouses and record and monitor their operations in real time.
Whereas Profish provides ‘Lojaanor’ (‘Fish Market’ in the Ga language), a platform which facilitates the sale and delivery of fish to bulk purchasers such as restaurants and fishmongers. Their technology also improves on existing storage and delivery systems.
This year, the KIC program has also attracted additional investments from two of its programmed partners. DAI supported with USD$20,000 and the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology with USD$100,000 to fund additional three business teams.
This brings the number of business teams receiving start-up and development investment funding at the end of the 2018 Agritech Challenge to a total of five. The three other finalists to receive support and funding are Soil Solutions, Kwidex and Growth Factor.
The Vice-President and Country Manager of Kosmos Energy, Mr. Joe Mensah said: “We are delighted to be driving innovation in Ghana’s agricultural sector. The size of the opportunity to transform the sector is demonstrated by the ongoing popularity of the Agritech Challenge with young people and by the skill of support the program continues to receive from government representatives, business partners and the local community. At Kosmos, we aim to be a long-term partner deeply engaged in helping our host countries create a brighter future beyond oil and gas. I look forward to seeing how all the funded companies bring growth and change to the agricultural industry which is of such vital importance to this country’s economy.”
On his part, Director of Portfolio and Ghana, Ashwin Ravichandran noted that over the past two years, MEST has incubated six innovative Agritech companies through the Kosmos Innovation Centre.
“We believe it is the training they received from customers energy while participating in the KIC Agritech Challenge and then the support they received during incubation at MEST that truly makes them stand apart. We cannot wait to welcome the next generation of KIC companies into our Accra incubator and further the partnership between MEST and Kosmos Energy”, he added.
More than 400 young people applied to be part of the 2018 Agritech Challenge out of which 200 were shortlisted and interviewed and a final 120 entrepreneurs were selected to compete.
The eight finalists had nine months of customised skills and capacity building, individual coaching and expert mentorship to help develop their innovative ideas. A series of market research tools also gave participants first-hand knowledge of the challenges faced by the agricultural sector in Ghana today. The teams made it through three elimination rounds where they had to pitch their businesses to an expert panel of judges.
Each year, Kosmos Energy awards customised prize packages to winning businesses. This includes seed funding worth USD$100,000 and one year of incubation to help ensure the businesses success.
Criteria for selection included clarity of the problem and solution statements, the types of technology and business model deployed, the viability and scalability of business concept, their general presentation skills and the minimum viable product MVP and proof-of-concept.