The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC), a non-profit organization that invests in young entrepreneurs and small businesses, today held its first pitch in the 2021 AgriTech Challenge Pro Competition, an acceleration program aimed at equipping existing start-ups with the right tools, funding and support to bring their business ideas or products to market and prepare them to scale.
At the event, 25 start-ups pitched their business concepts to a distinguished panel of judges comprising Ghanaian business leaders and sector experts.
For the past five months, the start-ups have been working on their business plans with Kosmos Innovation Center staff supporting them with technical assistance, business coaching and mentorship. As part of the training, the 25 start-ups conducted extensive market research journeys throughout Ghana and engaged industry stakeholders to collect data to inform their product development.
The start-ups were involved in various aspects of the agriculture industry: 10 were working in multiple sectors of the agricultural value chain, 4 in cereals, 3 in poultry, 3 in fruits and vegetables, 2 in tree crops, 2 in livestock and 1 in legumes.
The panel of judges was now reviewing the performance of the start-ups after the pitch and those start-ups who qualified will advance to the next stage of the competition, which comes with additional training and the opportunity to secure seed funding.
Those start-ups who did not qualify for the next stage of the AgriTech Challenge Pro Competition were eligible to join the Kosmos Innovation Center Fellowship, which offers networking opportunities, capacity building programs and coaching.
Mr Joe Mensah, Chairman of the Kosmos Innovation Center’s Board of Directors and Senior Vice President and Head of the Ghana Business Unit for Kosmos Energy, said KIC continues to develop Ghana’s young entrepreneurs and challenges them to bring fresh thinking and innovation to the agricultural sector.
He said with the new AgriTech Challenge Pro Competition, the KIC was expanding its offerings to more start-ups than ever before.
Mr Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, Executive Director of the Center, said the Center continues to adapt to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, offering a full life-cycle of support to help small-and-medium-sized businesses scale up and become sustainable.
About Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC)
The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) in Ghana is a non-profit organization that invests in young entrepreneurs and small businesses. It empowers entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into viable, self-sustaining businesses and we work alongside promising small businesses to help them scale and reach their full potential.
Each program at the Center is driven by local staff and private sector experts, resulting in a distinctive focus on commercial solutions and local knowledge. Its customized, best-in-class business support programs feature a mix of skills training, mentorship and seed funding.
Since KIC’s inception in 2016, more than 600 young leaders have been trained in business skills and entrepreneurship through participation in the AgriTech Challenge and other KIC programs. Many of the 16 start-ups formed or incubated in the Center have secured additional investment and gone on to win other start-up competitions.
In 2018, the Center won the prestigious P3 Impact Award, which recognizes public-private partnerships (P3) that are improving communities and the world in the most impactful ways. The P3 Impact Award was created by Concordia, the University of Virginia Darden School Institute for Business in Society, and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships.