Kosmos Energy, an Oil and gas firm has said it will invest $100,00 into TroTro Tractor Ltd and Ghalani, the two winners of the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) AgriTech Challenge, a formal competition that invited young entrepreneurs to use innovation to develop commercial solutions to challenges within agriculture.
Apart from the US$50,000 in seed funding, the two will receive technical assistance from the KIC, as well as mentorship from the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, to help them turn their ideas into viable businesses.
According to Kosmos Energy vice president and country manager Joe Mensah said: “We are on to something big. This program encourages smart young entrepreneurs to look at agriculture differently. With the type of innovation fostered by the KIC, our young people can make it a more dynamic sector and attractive career path with plenty of opportunity.”
Accra-based TroTro Tractor Ltd, is marketplace connecting farmers to tractor operators within their vicinity, enabling them to request, schedule, and pre-pay tractor services while Ghalani is creating farm management software that helps agricultural aggregators, who often have to manage relationships with thousands of small-holder farmers, to efficiently organize, manage and monitor these farmers to improve productivity and reduce risks.
The two beat over 100 young entrepreneurs from all over Ghana to win the inaugural AgriTech Exchange, an interactive and informative brainstorming session in which experts in agriculture, business, and technology gathered to define the most pressing challenges facing Ghana’s agriculture sector.
In May, the 44 young entrepreneurs – known in the program as “AgriTechies” – attended a series of lunch-and-learn programs aimed at deepening their understanding of the agricultural sector, studying the challenges identified in the AgriTech Exchange, and preparing for a 13-day field research tour. The KIC-sponsored research tour took participants to five regions in Ghana – Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern, Ashanti, and Brong-Ahafo – to interact directly with farmers and agribusinesses to test their assumptions and collect valuable input.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Kosmos Energy on the Kosmos Innovation Center and AgriTech incubator. This mutually beneficial partnership whereby each party brings their respective strengths to the table. We especially appreciate Kosmos’ dedication in bringing the necessary expertise within the agriculture sector,” said Katie Sarro, Managing Director, MEST. ”We’re proud at what we’ve accomplished thus far and we look forward to continuing to mentor and nurture these promising AgriTech startups through funding, incubation and technical support.”