Twenty-five agri-tech business teams competing in the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) 2017 Agri-tech Challenge have embarked on a series of market research tours across six regions to validate business plans they have formulated after attending a two day agri-ech exchange workshop.
The six regions are the Volta: Greater Accra, Northern, Ashanti, Brong- Ahafo and Central
The first market research tour covering four regions in Ghana, namely, the Eastern, Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and Northern regions was from 29 January to 6 February 2017.
The first trip was arranged to give the entrepreneurs a feel of the agricultural landscape and the opportunity to interact with top Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and staff of fourteen institutions in the country’s agricultural value chain.
“The market research tour is an eye opener for the entrepreneurs, opening up networking opportunities with institutions and farmers – this is a critical piece for the entrepreneurs as it lays the foundation for future collaboration” Joe Mensah, Kosmos Energy’s Vice President and Country Manager said.
The teams, he explained, returned to Accra to participate in the Agri-tech Exchange, a two day event which consists of a series of highly interactive and informative brainstorming sessions and business plan mini pitches aimed at helping the young entrepreneurs build the foundation of commercially-viable agri start-ups.
“The event brought together a mix of Ghanaian agribusiness representatives, local technology specialists, and financial institutions as well as a group of senior mentors to spur technology innovations designed to address the needs of Ghana’s agricultural sector” he added.
According to him, the first day of the Agri-tech Exchange was dedicated to the young entrepreneurs’ interacting with key players in the industry to discuss, receive support, suggestions and in-depth information about the sector.
Constants pitched their preliminary business plans to a panel of judges and other stakeholders for feedback.
The second day, he further explained was solely for the entrepreneurs to fine-tune their problem statements, turn them into well-packaged business plans ready for pitching to the panel of judges later in the year.
“Key stakeholders identified and prioritized a number of areas as the most pressing needs across Ghana’s agricultural value chain, including livestock, poultry, fisheries management, on-farm production and post-harvest challenges. Technical and market information for farmers and agro processes, finance and insurance, and the ability to track food sources and authenticate agro-inputs” he added.
He pointed out that the entrepreneurs have now embarked on a second market research tour that will serve as an exercise to validate business plans developed in response to the challenges identified at the Agri-tech Exchange.
By the end of the two research tours he said, the ‘Agri-techies’ are expected to have learned about the agricultural value chain, including the opportunities and challenges in the agriculture space, and how they can develop and refine viable businesses solutions to address them. This is also in preparation towards the first business plan pitches on April 28, 2017.
“We are encouraged by the huge response we have received from young entrepreneurs during this second season. At the end of the day, we are aiming to increase young people’s awareness of opportunities within agriculture so they can help to breathe new life into the sector” he added.