The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC), Kosmos Energy’s flagship social investment program in Ghana, has announced the winners of its AgriTech Challenge.

Through the investment program, Kosmos Energy planned to use innovation and apply commercial solutions to Ghana’s existing social and economic challenges by using a market-based approach that facilitates private sector enterprise and entrepreneurship.

The inaugural edition of the program targeted the agricultural sector, with plans to pursue and nurture the development of market-based solutions that address various development challenges across the sector’s value chain.

Following calls for applications, over 100 young entrepreneurs from all over Ghana applied, and after a pitch session to a panel of judges, 44 of them were selected for the next stage of the challenge.

These 44 entrepreneurs formed into 11 teams and continued refining their ideas and formulate business proposals. This ended in another pitch session where the finalists were selected.

The finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of expert judges in August 2016, with TroTro Tractor Ltd, a platform that connects farmers to tractor operators within their vicinity using mobile phones and GPS units, and Ghalani, a farm management software, emerging winners.

“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,” said Joe Mensah, Kosmos Energy vice president and country manager.

He added, “I am thrilled with the tremendous response that we have gotten from young people who want to be a part of this effort to transform Ghana.”

The winners each received US$50,000 in seed funding and technical assistance from the KIC, as well as mentorship from Ghana-based MEST to help them turn their ideas into viable businesses.

The second edition of the challenge will hold in 2017. Kosmos Energy encourages more budding entrepreneurs to apply, and companies to invest in their businesses.