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KIC holds AgriTech information exchange

BY: Severious Kale-Dery
Ms Ewura Abena Agyemang (3rd right), one of the panallists who schooled the contestants on entrepreneurship
Ms Ewura Abena Agyemang (3rd right), one of the panallists who schooled the contestants on entrepreneurship

It was a learning curve for the competing entrepreneurs in the fourth edition of the Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC) agribusiness competition when accomplished entrepreneurs schooled them on the challenges and prospects in entrepreneurship.

The successful entrepreneurs shared their experiences with the contestants to help them take a cue from them as they zoomed into the competition.

They reminded the budding entrepreneurs in the challenge that they should brace themselves for frustrations, failures and disappointment that could threaten their drive to become entrepreneurs.

Building global business

Speaking on the broad theme: “Creating global businesses locally – Examples of successful entrepreneurs and local businesses, the Co-Founder of Wear Ghana, Ms Ewura Abena Agyemang, advised the competitors in the 2019 AgriTech Challenge to aim at building global businesses.

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She reminded them that they needed the right mindset and a “can do spirit” and everything would work out well for them.

Consumer-driven products

An agribusiness specialist, Mr Prince Obeng, advised the contestants to be passionate in whatever they were doing and develop strong consumer-driven products.

He reminded them that the competition in the corporate world was tough and required some level of ingenuity to survive, urging them to “build consumer-centric products” that would make them competitive globally.

Mr Obeng advised them to start their businesses in a small way, “and run with it”, insisting it was important to get it right before scaling up.

Can do spirit

The Chief Executive Officer of Al Energy, Mrs Abigail Hariley, contributing to the theme, advised the competitors to develop the Can do Spirit, be focused and avoid borrowing from the onset.

She reminded them that honesty was key for a beginner in business, urging them to be focused at being the best “and all the financial institutions and agencies will look out for you.”

Goodwill of Ghana

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Esoko, a crops advisory company, Dr Asare Kyei, urged the contestants to leverage the goodwill the country had to project themselves.

He also advised them to take advantage of the opportunity of being part of the challenge to learn from each other and those would not be the ultimate winners would have gathered a wealth of knowledge at the end of the contest.

Investor interest

Speaking on investors, the Vice-President in charge of Portfolio Operations of Zebu Investment Partners, Mr Prince Akpesey, said investors looked at returns on investment and the level of profitability before investing in businesses.

He said investors would only be interested in putting their money into a business if there was something to show that the business was viable.

The Co-Founder of Developer’s in Vogue, Ms Ivy Barley, told the contenders that to ensure that they were competitive in the market, they needed to ensure that their products were competitive enough, advising them to spend some time to get their products right.

Business concepts

Briefing the Daily Graphic after the session, the Director of Corporate Affairs at Kosmos Energy Ghana, Mr George Sarpong, explained that the competitors were set to create their business concepts following a successful series of mentoring, coaching and bespoke capacity-building and training activities, which put them on the path to turning ideas into fully viable businesses.

Mr Sarpong said the contestants had gone through a 12-day market search tour to enable them to appreciate the agricultural sector better.

He said the KIC AgriTech Challenge, which was started in 2016, had already chalked up so many successes.

Mr Sarpong added that the overall goal was to see young people graduate from tertiary institutions, develop business plans for implementation, instead of sitting down waiting for someone to employ them.

CSIR

Addressing the contestants earlier, the Deputy Director-General of the Food Research Institute (FRI) of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Charles Tortoe, said the council had done a number of research work which were available.

He said the FRI had released variety of crops of almost all the Ghanaian staple spectrum, including sweet potatoes, yam, cassava, rice and maize.

Dr Tortoe said the council was adding value to food crops which were of international standards for export.

He also said the council had a nursery where improved variety of seedlings were available for farmers for a fee.