Some 44 young entrepreneurs are on course to changing the fortunes of agriculture in Ghana under the Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC) project.

The project which was successfully launched in April 2016, has already seen over 100 young entrepreneurs taking part in the AgriTech Challenge 2016, a competition that allows young entrepreneurs to innovate commercial solutions to challenges facing the agriculture sector.

After research, collaboration and nurturing, the entrepreneurs pitched their preliminary ideas to a panel of expert judges, out of which 44 entrepreneurs were chosen.

The 44 entrepreneurs, known to 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.

A statement issued by the project organisers, says 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.

The young entrepreneurs, comprised of 11 teams, are now refining their ideas and formulating business proposals which will be pitched to the panel of expert judges later this month. Entrepreneurs who survive this latest pitch round will continue working on their business plans in advance of a final pitch in August that will select the winners.

Winners of the competition will receive seed funding and 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.

“We are thrilled with the progress that has been made in encouraging young entrepreneurs to tackle challenges in agriculture. The program has attracted very talented individuals who have a passion for innovation and who see real business opportunity in agriculture. They have put in an extraordinary amount of work and received a lot of support over the last several months. Everyone at the Kosmos Innovation Center is looking forward to the excitement of the next pitch round,” said Joe Mensah, Vice President and Country Manager, Kosmos Energy.