Two AgriTech Challenge winners receive $50,000 seed funding each

Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) Friday announced OASAL Group and Fruitflour teams as the winners of the 2020 KIC AgriTech Challenge in Accra.

The winners would receive $50,000 each in seed funding and up to four years of business training, mentorship, and incubation at the Kosmos Innovation Center Hub located in Dzorwulu.

The challenge is a business competition aimed at developing the next generation of young entrepreneurs in Ghana’s agriculture sector.

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, said participants involved in the 2020 AgriTech Challenge deeply impressed him with their determination to succeed despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

He said the quality of the teams, the entrepreneurial spirit and the potential of their business ideas were all testament to the work of everyone at the Center and congratulated the OASAL Group and Fruitflour and wished them future success.

He said the challenge identified young people who were interested in starting a business and provided them with a system of training, workshops and support.

The 2020 Challenge began in December 2019 with 150 young entrepreneurs selected from more than 1,000 applicants.

Mr Mensah said the programme used 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 opportunities.
“The goal is to show them what’s possible, personally and professionally, if they’re willing to put in the effort. Business training and mentorship are delivered at key stages in the AgriTech Challenge program and as part of a life-cycle of development and support.”

Mr Mensah said throughout the programme, individual competitors established teams and participated in a series of pitch and elimination events, during which they presented 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 programme. 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 KIC, said the Center would continue to support young entrepreneurs who were interested in transforming Ghana’s agriculture sector.

He said the newly introduced AgriTech Challenge Pro, an acceleration programme 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, was currently accepting applications.

“The programme is developed to create opportunities for teams that are already formed and looking to take their business to the next stage.”

Mr Gyan-Kesse said, “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 $100,000 to the program.

Dr Asia Kirabo, the Rwandan High Commissioner, said the teams went through the challenge to give back to technology these ideas that would contribute to the development of the agricultural sector in Ghana and to believe in the continent.

She said connecting the youth with innovation, IT and agriculture were one of the missing key components in the socio-economic transformation of the African continent, so it was worth noting that the teams chose the right platform.

She said it was not a secret that farming in Africa had remained at the subsistence level in most African countries and to achieve food security it was important to invest in innovation and technology.

“The role played by technology and innovation under this challenge cannot be over emphasized and we need to do more to ensure that more ideas are born to make agriculture attractive to the youth if we want to reap the benefits of having 60 per cent of the world’s arable lands on the continent.”

The other teams that participated in the challenge include Dairy Depot, Feed Heaven, Kaltivo, Kuanijom, Faakolore, Kaiyayo, Farmasyst, and Bolstaar.

Source: GNA

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