Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC), the corporate social investment initiative of Kosmos Energy Ghana, has awarded seed funding of more than US $100,000 (about GH¢380,000) to two Ghanaian business start-ups.
The beneficiaries were selected after their businesses, Trotro Tractor and Ghalani, emerged overall winners at the agribusiness-technology (AgriTech) competition organised by Komos Energy.
The award, which includes technical assistance and mentorship at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), is to help the teams turn their ideas into viable businesses.
The Vice-President and Country Manager of Kosmos Energy Ghana, Mr Joe Mensah, who announced the winners in Accra last Wednesday, said the initiative was borne out of a desire to make a transformational intervention in the economy.
He said the agricultural sector was the highest contributor to the country’s total value of production; it contributed 19 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“We’ll institutionalise the programme and do it every year and, with time, we’ll all see the impact,” Mr Mensah disclosed.
He advised those who did not win to retune their proposals and re-enter the competition.
The continuation of the competition was launched simultaneously with the announcement of winners for the maiden edition.
The announcement of the winner came six months after the selection process, which involved rounds of mentorship, hands-on coaching, training, seminars, facility tours and pitches.
The start-ups were selected from over 100 entries received, which were shortlisted to 44. They were then put into 11 teams made up of people from different backgrounds to develop solutions to the challenges in the agricultural value chain.
Trotro Tractor Ltd proposed the creation of a platform that uses mobile phones and Global Positioning System (GPS) to connect farmers to tractor operators within their vicinity. The platform is expected to give farmers greater access to mechanised farming equipment.
Ghalani, on the other hand, proposed the creation of farm management software that will help agricultural aggregators, who often have to manage relationships with smallholder farmers to organise, manage and monitor the farmers to improve productivity and reduce risks.
Mr Mensah said: “In addition to building a vibrant and world-class petroleum industry, our vision is to use the KIC programme to share our success and bring positive change to the areas where we operate, both in Ghana and abroad.”
For emerging winners, Trotro Tractor and Ghalani are to enter an incubation and mentorship programme at MEST to sharpen their information technology (software development) and business management skills.
The General Manager of MEST, Mr Emmanuel Quartey, commended the KIC as a true and transformational corporate social investment programme.