Premium Bank has pledged to support young university graduates who take up the challenge create businesses in the agribusiness value chain.
Consequently, the bank has decided to support six finalists of the Kosmos Energy’s AgriTech Challenge to establish well-functioning businesses in pursuit of their dreams.
The Managing Director of the bank, Mr Kwasi Tumi, declared the intention of the bank when he addressed finalists in the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) AgriTech Challenge who are pitching various agribusiness solutions using information and communications technology (ICT) to win the $50,000 grand prize.
He noted that young entrepreneurs held the key to solving unemployment in the country and every effort must be made to support them.
Mr Tumi said the KIC project was laudable and that although eight out of the 100 young people who applied to participate in the contest would win a prize, the rest would leave with valuable lessons which could help them still build successful and viable businesses.
He said the bank believed in the contributions of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to every economy owing to the fact that they had the chance to grow and actualise their potential with high capabilities to create jobs.
“We at the Premium Banks will absorb the rest through our help-station to ensure that their dreams are actualised,” Mr Tumi stated, adding “Premium Banks understands what it is to be a start-up. Therefore, we came up with the Help-Station, where we partner another institution known as the African Network of Entrepreneurs,” he said.
Support for start-ups
Mr Tumi said at the help-station young graduates and business-minded entrepreneurs would be provided with financial assistance and training on financial planning, assets and general bookkeeping to help them to succeed.
“The focus is to empower the young people we come into contact with, providing them with all the templates and even in some cases office space to work from. We help them to learn the dynamics and what happens in the real corporate world among others,” the managing director said.
Mr Tumi said the bank had set up a ¢5 million fund for young people with the required discipline and toughness to access to finance their dream businesses.
“When we talk about solution for unemployment challenges in this country, the young people we churn out under the KIC project provide the perfect solution dotted along the agriculture value chain for national development, job and wealth creation,” he said.
He added; “Kosmos might have started the KIC initiative, but for the calibre of young and spirited entrepreneurs being trained, I can say that we at the Premium Bank will support and ensure that those we take after the winners have been announced become top businesses.”.
The move by the bank to put the other runner-ups through the help station follows an encounter with one of the winners in the maiden contest, Trotro Tractor, which dazzled the bank with its ingenuity of the model in effecting change in the agricultural sector.
Since the two ultimate winners will go through an entrepreneurial programme as part of the grand prize Kosmos has earmarked, the Premium Bank intends to put the remaining four teams under the help station run in collaboration with the African Network of Entrepreneurs.
The bank explained that the rationale behind the decision was based on their belief that the intervention by the leading emerging and frontier market economy company was the future of the country.
He urged young people to disabuse their minds that some free funds exist somewhere for start-ups, “they must be made to know that there is the need for fiscal discipline in every aspect of business venture.”
“To succeed and complete within the real world of business, young people must have the toughness to complete within that space and play with the terms applied to every player within that space,” he said.
The winners of the premier edition TTL said they have made a tremendous progress and have a team of young passionate Africans using internet of things (IOT) and technology to change the lives of smallholder farmers through the provision of platforms which make agricultural mechanisation (Tractor) services available, accessible and affordability to enhance productivity, improve efficiency and reduce post-harvest losses.
For his part the Country Manager and Vice-president of Kosmos Energy Ghana, Mr Joe Mensah, commended the participants who made it to the final stage of the competition.
He said it was important that the process had toughened the contestants, saying they should all have a winning sense of feeling and that the KIC would be institutionalised.