Two start-ups win US$100,000 in Kosmos Agric Challenge
Two innovative start-ups in the agribusiness sub-sector have won $100,000 for emerging the overall winners of this year’s Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC) agribusiness competition, dubbed: AgriTech Challenge.
AiScarecrow, which developed a fully automated and intelligent scarecrow that allows cereal farmers to effectively deal with pest birds on their farms, received $50,000, with the second winner, ProSect Feed Limited, also taking the same amount for developing an organic science-based protein substitute in feed formulation for the local poultry industry. The invention ensures more than 20 per cent cost reduction in feed supply for farmers.
In addition to the prize money, the entrepreneurs will benefit from a year’s incubation at the just-opened KIC Incubator.
Nine other business teams which reached the final of the competition will each receive a year’s business support package at the incubator.
The Senior Vice-President of Kosmos Energy and Head of the Ghana Business Unit, Mr Joe Mensah, said the youth-led businesses that took part in the KIC AgriTech Challenge were spread across the entire agricultural value chain — from increasing yields for farmers to getting products onto dinner tables in the country.
The KIC AgriTech Challenge is Kosmos Energy’s flagship social investment programme aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs to become business leaders to fuel the country’s growth and create jobs, starting with the agricultural sector.
The current challenge is the fourth in the series, delivering on Kosmos Energy’s mission to invest in Ghana’s future, one entrepreneur at a time.
“Today, we are adding 11 more businesses to the KIC Incubator, helping them to go on to tackle some of the most critical challenges in the sector, create jobs and achieve food sustainability for Ghana.
“As a company that knows what it’s like to be a start-up, follow a dream and build a business, we are humbled by the opportunity to leverage our skills to support and develop our host countries,” Mr Mensah said.
The KIC AgriTech Challenge, he said, placed young people with drive and ambition on an intensive 10-month capacity-building process.
The process, he said, included equiping them with the skills and contacts needed to start businesses, market research tours, expert knowledge exchanges, training in specific business skills and three pitches, with only the best teams selected to move on to the next stage of the competition at each point.
Reflecting on the KIC’s inception three years ago, Mr Mensah said Kosmos Energy was committed to using the KIC to harness the power of entrepreneurship to drive inclusive economic growth in the country and use innovation and entrepreneurship to stimulate the private sector to apply commercial solutions to some developmental challenges in the country, starting with agriculture.
“We can confidently say that the KIC programme is on course and has become one of the fastest-growing entrepreneurship programmes in the country. We have set the KIC apart from the traditional approach to corporate social responsibility,” Mr Mensah said.
Through the KIC, he said, Kosmos Energy was building Ghana’s local content by developing other key sectors of the economy through the promotion of innovation, private-sector enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Since its inception in 2016, the KIC has developed over 500 Ghanaian youth and nurtured 14 of the most promising youth-led innovative agritech start-ups in Ghana.
Some of these are Trotro Tractor Ltd, Complete Farmer, Growth Factor, Kwidex, Techshelta and Profish.
The KIC invests in young entrepreneurs and small businesses which have big ideas and want to see their country grow.
It uses customised programmes, led by local experts and supported by partners.
Kosmos Energy is a full-cycle, deep-water, independent international oil and gas exploration and production company, with focus on the Atlantic margins.
Its key assets include production offshore Ghana, Equatorial Guinea and the US Gulf of Mexico, as well as world-class gas development enterprises offshore Mauritania and Senegal.