The Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC), in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, has launched the KIC Business Booster – an acceleration programme aimed at scaling Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (Agri-MSMEs) in the agriculture sector in Ghana.
The KIC Business Booster accelerates the growth of Agri-MSMEs by improving their investor readiness, and connecting them to potential funding.
Agri-MSMEs which take part in the programme are provided with customised capacity building training and business development support services such as mentorship and coaching, market linkages, and network opportunities.
The programme will enable Agri-MSMEs to improve their business operations, mitigate financial constraints, and appropriately prepare them to engage with potential investors.
Over the next four years, the KIC Business Booster programme will scale up 900 Agri-MSMEs in Ghana’s agriculture value chains. The Accelerator, which forms part of KIC’s partnership with Kosmos Energy and the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy in Ghana, will be implemented in a phase approach.
In the first year, the programmee with Agri-MSMEs will be based in Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central, Northern, and Upper West Regions of Ghana.
“Calls for applications will be open, starting now until 27th May, 2022. Interested Agri-MSMEs in the listed regions can apply directly on KIC’s website: www.kicghana.org,” Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, Executive Director of KIC, said.
“To commemorate the launch of the Accelerator programme, KIC organised a learning event for young people and operators. The learning event brought together several experts, who discussed the challenges faced by Agri-MSMEs, and proposed various solutions to solving these challenges,” he pointed out.
Speaking at the launch, he said: “The Booster programme aligns with KIC’s goal of supporting Agri-MSMEs to scale up, provide food security, and build globally competitive brands backed by innovation and technology.
“We want to support Agri-MSMEs to grow and impact society in terms of providing food and creating jobs.”
In addition to the Business Booster programme, he said KIC has led bold initiatives within Ghana’s agriculture sector, and supported young entrepreneurs driving innovative business models within the sector. More than 100,000 farmers have been impacted by Agri-Tech and agribusinesses supported by the KIC programme.
The centre, he explained, has now evolved into an independent non-profit organisation which is able to partner with other organisations and foundations to support its work.
Board Chairman of KIC, Senior Vice President and Head of the Ghana Business Unit at Kosmos Energy, Joe Mensah commented: “The KIC Business Booster programme is another pillar of KIC’s work that has a lot of potential to transform the agriculture sector when provided with the necessary support.
“Offering support to Agri-MSMEs means a lot to the KIC programme, and just as we have made significant impact with the other programme elements, the Business Booster programme will also yield high impact.”
Ghana Country Head at the Mastercard Foundation, Rosy Fynn, added that: “The launch of the KIC Business Booster programme is aligned to our country strategy of investing in the agriculture and agriculture-adjacent sectors to unlock work opportunities for young Ghanaian women and men, and to push for system level changes which will position Ghana as a technological hub with agriculture innovations that are suited to the African context”. Earlier this year, the Mastercard Foundation and KIC announced the launch of a multi-year partnership to train the next generation of young leaders and entrepreneurs in Ghana’s agriculture sector.
Key aspects of the programme include:
- AgriTech Challenge Classic – a seven-month annual training programme aimed at building the entrepreneurial mindset of students and young graduates. Over the next four years, the expanded version of the AgriTech Challenge is expected to train about 4,700 young people across Ghana through relationships with regional academic partners, such as universities and technical schools.
- AgriTech Challenge Pro – a five-month acceleration programme aimed at equipping existing early-stage teams or AgriTech start-ups with the right tools, funding, and support to bring their business ideas or products to market and prepare them to scale. The programme was developed to train teams advancing from the AgriTech Challenge Classic, as well as others from the broader start-up ecosystem in Ghana.
- Incubation – the KIC Incubation is a multi-year business incubation programme aimed at preparing businesses for growth, scale, and investor readiness. The incubation programme involves more focused business training, specialised coaching and mentorship, networking, a physical workspace, and access to technical expertise. Six businesses will be selected annually to receive between US$10,000 and US$50,000 in funding, physical office space, and continuous support from the KIC. Throughout the incubation, the KIC will invest in capacity building programmes to equip entrepreneurs with specialised mentorship using local industry experts.
- Business Booster – a five-month programme that spurs the growth of existing Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in agriculture and agriculture adjacent sectors in Ghana which have demonstrated potential, and are ready to scale. The Business Booster programme supports improvements in structure, operations and investor readiness by facilitating business relationships, networking, mentorship, business development support, and coaching. The programme’s goal is to accelerate the development of 900 MSMEs over four years.
- Blue Skies School Farm of the Year Competition – the School Farm of the Year Competition works by enabling secondary schools to compete against each other by managing and sustaining their own farms to win prizes, and to be awarded the title of School Farm of the Year. This competition aims to develop the interest of young people in agriculture through practical training and exposure. The programme will leverage school farms as models to teach and demonstrate innovations emerging from the KIC, while supporting the training of teachers on how to apply these solutions.