Five young Senegalese entrepreneurs have been selected to receive six months of business incubation and $2,000 seed-funding to kick-start their business by the Senegal Start-Up Accelerator, run by Kosmos Innovation Center and Reach for Change.
The Senegal Start-Up Accelerator is designed to support innovators in the fishing and agricultural sectors to develop their commercial solutions and maximize their impact, helping them to navigate the early stages of business growth.
Over the course of six months, the program will provide the five winners with intensive and expert individual and group training, organized visits to established businesses for market research and professional mentoring. The winners will also receive $2000 each in seed funding, with the chance to secure additional funding upon completion of the program.
The five entrepreneurs selected to join the accelerator have successfully completed an extensive screening process, including interviews and background checks, an assessment panel and an intensive two day bootcamp. This bootcamp culminated in a pitch before a jury panel with judges from Reach for Change, Kosmos Energy and prominent experts from the agricultural and fishing industries in Senegal.
According to Mamadou Mar Faye, External Affairs and CSR Manager, Kosmos Energy, “Through this accelerator program, we’re delighted to do our part to ensure young, promising entrepreneurs have the skills and support needed to help turn their innovative business ideas into reality. Each winner will be guided through the process of developing a product that is ready for market and meets a real market need, contributing to the creation of a healthy and competitive agricultural sector in Senegal. Look out for five exciting new products coming to the market in just six months’ time!”
The five winning entrepreneurs are Mouhamadou Lamine Kebe of Tool Bi whose innovation works to facilitate irrigation with an electronic innovation and improve agricultural yields; Mame Diarra Sarr of Fraisen/Waalu Ma Aagri who has developed an efficient way of producing organic strawberries locally in Senegal at an affordable cost; Abdourahmane Diop of Jappandil who developed a platform that connects farmers to qualified agricultural experts, service providers and materials needed to improve farming practices and access the latest innovations; Aliou Diallo of Sigle:Senphytomed Suarl who is working to improve access herbal products and natural remedies while reinvesting in the conservation of medicinal plants; and Arfang Mafoudji Sonko of GIE Senbioagro Corporation whose innovation works to reduce food waste while creating employment and transforming excess yields into market-ready products.
The cohort will begin the six-month Senegal Start-Up Accelerator commencing in January 2019.
Participants will learn everything from how to develop customer profiles and how to carry out competitor analysis, to how to make a product roadmap and develop a sustainable revenue model for their business.