Forty-four young entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector, who participated in the AgriTech Challenge, have completed a 13-day market research tour in five regions of the country.
The tour took the entrepreneurs to the Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions where they interacted directly with farmers and agribusinesses to test their assumptions and collect data.
Made up of 11 teams, the entrepreneurs are now refining their ideas and formulating business proposals which will be pitched to a panel of experts later this month.
Those who survive this latest round of pitching will continue working on their business plans in advance of a final pitch in August that will select the eventual winners.
AgriTech Challenge 2016, a competition that invited young entrepreneurs to use innovation to develop commercial solutions to challenges within agriculture, was launched last April.
It is sponsored by Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC), in partnership with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST).
More than 100 young entrepreneurs from all over Ghana entered the contest, which began with the inaugural AgriTech Exchange, an interactive and informative brainstorming session at which experts in agriculture, business and technology gathered to define the most pressing challenges facing Ghana’s agriculture sector.
In a highly competitive selection process that followed the event, the young entrepreneurs pitched preliminary ideas to a panel of judges drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture, academia and private sector enterprises.
The 44 entrepreneurs, known in the programmme as “AgriTechies”, were selected to move forward to the next stage of the competition.
They then attended a series of lunch-and-learn programmes that deepened their understanding of the agriculture sector and the challenges identified during the AgriTech Exchange, before setting off on the regional tour.
“We are thrilled with the progress made in encouraging young entrepreneurs to tackle challenges in agriculture. They have put in an extraordinary amount of work and received a lot of appropriate support so far.
“Everyone at the Kosmos Innovation Centre is looking forward to the excitement of the next round of pitching by the young entrepreneurs,” Mr Joe Mensah,the Vice-President and Country Manager of Kosmos Energy said.
Winners of the competition will receive seed funding and technical assistance from KIC, as well as mentorship from the MEST, to help them turn their ideas into viable businesses.