The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) and the Mastercard Foundation held a three-day Bootcamp in Kumasi for 108 aspiring young women entrepreneurs within the Agri-MSME sector.
The KIC Women’s Bootcamp is part of the capacity building program under the KIC and Mastercard Foundation’s multi-year partnership to train the next generation of young leaders and agriculture entrepreneurs.
The Bootcamp seeks to create a pipeline of empowered women in the agriculture ecosystem as well as build the capacity of participants in the AgriTech Challenge.
The three-day event was facilitated by 16 external trainers and mentors, specifically selected to share their diverse experience in a broad range of areas, including agripreneurship; opportunities in the agriculture value chain for women; tech applications to agribusiness; presentation skills, and design thinking; among others. Participants were taken through various business and managerial topics, all aimed at enhancing their self-employability and investor readiness.
Participants were also exposed to the opportunities in Ghana's agribusiness value chain and how they can make the most of these opportunities to be leading players within different value chains.
“The impact of the KIC Women’s Bootcamp continues to serve as a motivational factor for the organization. It is the goal of KIC and its partners to empower more young women to create decent jobs for themselves and their peers, and we see the Bootcamp as one of the avenues for driving this change. The Bootcamp also aligns with the organization’s vision of empowering women to thrive and feel equipped to establish themselves in Ghana's Agri-MSMEs sector. We want to scale up the presence of women by inspiring them and opening them up to all the opportunities within the field," said Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, the Executive Director of KIC.
“The successful completion of this year's Bootcamp is a demonstration of the commitment of both organizations to help strengthen and shape the future of women entrepreneurs within the agriculture and agriculture adjacent sectors in Ghana,” he concluded.
The three-day Bootcamp concluded with a hackathon where participants used their new skills to identify and solve a practical problem within and outside the agriculture value-chain in Ghana. Some of the participants are expected to join the KIC AgriTech Challenge after the Bootcamp, while others have committed to use the knowledge acquired in their current work.
The Ghana Country Head at the Mastercard Foundation, Rosy Fynn, said: “Young Ghanaians are the catalysts for Ghana’s transformation and our partnership with the KIC is centred on 1 training the next generation of young leaders, especially young women, in the agriculture and adjacent sector. As we build the capacity of young people, we give them the skills and tools to drive transformation and innovation in the sector to create work opportunities for themselves and their peers.”
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.
The first KIC Women’s Bootcamp was organized in March this year, with 68 women from 5 local universities in attendance.
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