The third edition of the Kosmos Innovation Centre Agritech Challenge will indeed be an unforgettable experience for not just the winning teams but the eight final teams, whom all described it as not just a competition, but as a wonderful learning experience.
“Kosmos has taught us two things: to create a business out of an idea and also to be patient. We made mistakes, so many of them, but Kosmos worked with us through these mistakes to make our business possible,’’ said Prince from team Kwidex.
The close to ten-month journey gave the young entrepreneurs the opportunity to not only work with business experts and advisors but also interact with players in the agriculture value chain.
Two market research sessions held in the earlier stages of the challenge saw the teams go to six regions, Ashanti, Northern, Eastern, Western, Brong Ahafo and the Upper East Region.
Here, they got to interact with farmers, fishermen and other professionals in the agriculture value chain.
Challenges in areas such as land preparation, harvesting, ready market and available labour were among the many fields that inspired the young cohorts to come up with creative ideas; ideas that have blossomed into businesses today.
“Kosmos is impacting the lives of many young people as it is helping to create innovation. We have come to believe that the solution to Ghana’s problems is right here with us. Let’s us continue to believe in ourselves and invest in the agriculture sector’’ Kelvin Tyron with team Nvoicia remarked.
It was a teary moment for some when they were given the chance to give a few words on behalf of their teams.
Paul with Tech Shelta managed to hold back his tears as he gave his heartwarming speech.
‘‘Some of us entered the competition thinking we knew it all until we passed through the refining fire of Kosmos. It cleans you up and takes off the mess. The critics from our wonderful ideation, tell you that yes you have done it, but you need to correct a couple of things. The gift that Kosmos Energy has given to us, I pray that history writes it through our eyes,’’ he said.
This year’s competition was tough and keen as each final team put forth its best. Country Manager of Kosmos Energy Joe Mensah explained that it was a tough call for the ‘ideation team’ (judges) to make as the marks attained by all eight teams were close.
However per their remarkable presentation during the final pitch coupled with their performance all through the challenge, TechShelta and Profish were adjudged winners.
TechShelta and Profish (Loojaanor) walked away with the ultimate prize of $100,000 and a year incubation to help ensure the businesses’ success.
This year the KIC program attracted investment from two of its program partners DAI (20,000) and Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology to fund an additional three business teams
Each team member was awarded a certificate of participation.
Also in addition to the cash prize awarded to the first five teams is an additional co-working space and an enrollment in the MEST incubator program which ensures.
Farm Cure is developing an integrated pest management system that provides pest trap solutions that are environmentally friendly and allows farmers to apply the right pesticides at the right time with the right dosage on their farms.
AgTemp is developing a labour rotation system for farmers and agribusinesses that seek to hire the right farm hands and technical persons but have difficulty.
This is to solve the creeping shortage of labour force in the farming communities due to many reasons such as aged farmers, rural-urban migration and general lack of interest in agriculture.
Agro Sourcing is developing a data-driven system that aims sourcing agricultural residue and turning them into pre-processed materials for industries that use these residues as raw materials.
Soil Solutions is developing a “do it yourself” soil test kits for commercial and smallholder farmers. This will help farmers to know the exact soil nutrient deficiencies and apply the appropriate nutrient replantation method.
ProFish is developing “Lojaanor”, a product that will connect bulk purchasers of fish such as eateries, fish retailers etc. to the right market while improving storage and delivery systems.
TechShelta is developing technology and agronomic support for greenhouse farmers in Ghana and beyond to allow them to optimize their production.