The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation has launched the KIC Business Booster – an acceleration program aimed at scaling Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (Agri-MSMEs) in the agriculture sector in Ghana.

The KIC Business Booster accelerates the growth of Agri-MSMEs by improving their investor readiness and connecting them to potential funding.

Agri-MSMEs that take part in the program are provided with customized capacity-building training and business development support services such as mentorship and coaching, market linkages, and network opportunities.

Kosmos Innovation Center and Mastercard Foundation launch KIC Business Booster acceleration program

The program will enable Agri-MSMEs to improve their business operations, mitigate financial constraints, and appropriately prepare them to engage with potential investors.

Over the next four years, the KIC Business Booster program will scale up 900 Agri-MSMEs in Ghana’s agriculture value chains.

The Accelerator, which forms part of KIC’s partnership with Kosmos Energy and the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy in Ghana, will be implemented in a phased approach. In the first year, the program with Agri-MSMEs will be based in Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central, Northern, and Upper West Regions of Ghana.

Kosmos Innovation Center and Mastercard Foundation launch KIC Business Booster acceleration program

Calls for applications will be open starting now until 27th May 2022. Interested Agri-MSMEs in the listed regions can apply directly on KIC’s website: www.kicghana.org.

To commemorate the launch of the Accelerator program, KIC organized a learning event for young people and operators. The learning event brought together several experts who discussed the challenges faced by Agri-MSMEs and proposed various solutions to solving these challenges.

Speaking at the launch, Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, Executive Director of KIC, said: “The Booster program aligns with KIC’s goal of supporting Agri-MSMEs to scale up, provide food security, and build globally competitive brands backed by innovation and technology. We want to support Agri-MSMEs to grow and impact society in terms of providing food and creating jobs.”

Kosmos Innovation Center and Mastercard Foundation launch KIC Business Booster acceleration program

In addition to the Business Booster program, KIC has led bold initiatives within Ghana’s agriculture sector and supported young entrepreneurs driving innovative business models within the sector. More than 100,000 farmers have been impacted by Agri-Tech and agribusinesses supported by the KIC program.

The Center has now evolved into an independent non-profit organization, which is able to partner with other organizations and foundations to support its work.

Board Chairman of KIC, Senior VP and Head of the Ghana Business Unit at Kosmos Energy, Joe Mensah commented: “The KIC Business Booster program is another pillar of KIC’s work that has a lot of potential to transform the agriculture sector when provided with the necessary support. Offering support to Agri-MSMEs means a lot to the KIC program and just as we have made significant impact with the other program elements, the Business Booster program will also yield high impact.”

Ghana Country Head at the Mastercard Foundation, Rosy Fynn, commented: “The launch of the KIC Business Booster program is aligned to our country strategy of investing in the agriculture and agriculture-adjacent sectors to unlock work opportunities for young Ghanaian women and men, and to push for system-level changes, that will position Ghana as a technological hub with agriculture innovations that are suited to the African context.”

Earlier this year, the Mastercard Foundation and KIC announced the launch of a multi-year partnership to train the next generation of young leaders and entrepreneurs in Ghana’s agriculture sector. Key aspects of the program include:

  • AgriTech Challenge Classic – a 7-month annual training program aimed at building the entrepreneurial mindset of students and young graduates. Over the next four years, the expanded version of the AgriTech Challenge is expected to train about 4,700 young people across Ghana through relationships with regional academic partners, such as universities and technical schools.
  • AgriTech Challenge Pro – A 5-month acceleration program aimed at equipping existing early-stage teams or AgriTech start-ups with the right tools, funding, and support to bring their business ideas or products to market and prepare them to scale. The program was developed to train teams advancing from the AgriTech Challenge Classic, as well as others from the broader start-up ecosystem in Ghana.
  • Incubation – the KIC Incubation is a multi-year business incubation program aimed at preparing businesses for growth, scale, and investor readiness. The incubation program involves more focused business training, specialized coaching and mentorship, networking, a physical workspace, and access to technical expertise. Six businesses will be selected annually to receive between US$10,000 and $50,000 in funding, physical office space, and continuous support from the KIC. Throughout the
    incubation, the KIC will invest in capacity-building programs to equip entrepreneurs with specialized mentorship using local industry experts.
  • Business Booster – a 5-month program that spurs the growth of existing Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in agriculture and agriculture adjacent sectors in Ghana that have demonstrated potential and are ready to scale. The Business Booster program supports improvements in structure and operations and investor readiness by facilitating business relationships, networking, mentorship, business development support, and coaching. The program’s goal is to accelerate the development of 900 MSMEs over four years.
  • Blue Skies School Farm of The Year Competition – the School Farm of the Year Competition works by enabling secondary schools to compete against each other by managing and sustaining their own farms to win prizes and to be awarded the title of School Farm of the Year. This competition aims to develop the interest of young people in agriculture through practical training and exposure. The program will leverage school farms as models to teach and demonstrate innovations emerging from the KIC, while supporting the training of teachers on how to apply these solutions.