The Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC) and the Mastercard Foundation have held a three-day Bootcamp in Kumasi for 108 aspiring young women entrepreneurs within the Agri-MSME sector.
The KIC Women’s Bootcamp is part of the capacity building programme under the KIC and Mastercard Foundation’s multi-year partnership to train the next generation of young leaders and agriculture entrepreneurs. The Bootcamp seeks to create a pipeline of empowered women in the agriculture ecosystem, as well as build the capacity of participants in the AgriTech Challenge.
The three-day event was facilitated by 16 external trainers and mentors, specifically selected to share their diverse experience in a broad range of areas including: agripreneurship; opportunities in the agriculture value chain for women; tech applications to agribusiness; presentation skills and design-thinking among others. Participants were taken through various business and managerial topics, all aimed at enhancing their self-employability and investor-readiness.
Participants were also exposed to opportunities in Ghana’s agribusiness value chain and how they can make the most of these opportunities to be leading players within different value chains.
“The impact of KIC’s Women’s Bootcamp continues to serve as a motivational factor for the organisation. It is the goal of KIC and its partners to empower more young women to create decent jobs for themselves and their peers, and we see the Bootcamp as one of the avenues for driving this change.
“The Bootcamp also aligns with the organisation’s vision of empowering women to thrive and feel equipped to establish themselves in Ghana’s Agri-MSMEs sector. We want to scale up the presence of women by inspiring and opening them up to all the opportunities within the field,” said Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, the Executive Director of KIC.
“The successful completion of this year’s Bootcamp is a demonstration of both organisations’ commitment to help strengthen and shape the future of women entrepreneurs within the agriculture and agriculture-adjacent sectors in Ghana,” he concluded.
The three-day Bootcamp concluded with a ‘hackathon’ – where participants used their new skills to identify and solve a practical problem within and outside the agriculture value-chain in Ghana. Some of the participants are expected to join the KIC AgriTech Challenge after the Bootcamp, while others have committed to using the knowledge acquired in their current work.
Ghana Country Head at the Mastercard Foundation, Rosy Fynn, said: “Young Ghanaians are the catalysts for Ghana’s transformation; and our partnership with the KIC is centred on training the next generation of young leaders, especially young women, in the agriculture and adjacent sector. As we build the capacity of young people, we give them the skills and tools to drive transformation and innovation in the sector to create work opportunities for themselves and their peers”.
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
This is a 7-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
This is a 5-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
It 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 KIC. Throughout the incubation, KIC will invest in capacity building programmes to equip entrepreneurs with specialised mentorship using local industry experts.
The booster is a 5-month programme that spurs the growth of existing Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in agriculture and agriculture adjacent sectors in Ghana that have demonstrated potential and are ready to scale. The Business Booster programme supports improvements in structure and 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 be awarded the title ‘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 KIC, while supporting the training of teachers on how to apply these solutions.
The first KIC Women’s Bootcamp was organised in March this year, with 68 women from 5 local universities in attendance.