The Mastercard Foundation and the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC), yesterday launched a 16-million dollar programme aimed at training the next generation of young entrepreneurs in Ghana’s agriculture sector.
Named Initiative for Youth in Agricultural Transformation (IYAT), the four-year programme would scale up KIC’s transformational model and initiatives; AgriTech Challenge Classic; AgriTech Challenge Pro; KIC Incubation; Business Booster and Blue Skies School Farm of The Year Competition.
This would enable young entrepreneurs in the agriculture and agriculture-adjacent sectors to benefit from capacity building, access to finance, and business scaling opportunities – creating work opportunities for 163,000 young Ghanaian women and men in the 16 regions of the country.
The programme is aligned to the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works’ in Ghana, which seeks to deepen efforts in the agriculture and allied sectors by creating access to dignified work opportunities for young Ghanaians.
It is also in line with KIC’s goal of nurturing the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses, to build a more diverse economy, fuelled by local talent and innovation.
Speaking at the launch, KIC Executive Director, Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, described the partnership as a testament to KIC’s achievements over the past six years, and a nod to the transformation the centre was bringing to Ghana’s agriculture sector.
“As an organisation, we are driven by the determination to be the power behind the innovations that will shape Ghana’s agriculture sector. We want to back ideas that transform communities and we want to impact the lives of all the individuals associated with our programmes,” he said.
The KIC Board Chairman, Senior VP, and Head of the Ghana Business Unit at Kosmos Energy, Joe Mensah said the potential of KIC to make a real difference in the country’s agriculture sector, was not in doubt when it was launched in 2016.
“Our achievements over the last several years speak for themselves: 600 young leaders trained in business and entrepreneurship; 42 promising small businesses discovered or supported; 360 jobs created, and nearly 100,000 farmers supported by our start-ups and small businesses.
“The KIC generates buzz in the agriculture sector, making it a more attractive career path for young people with ambition and drive,” he said.
The Ghana Country Head at the Mastercard Foundation, Rosy Fynn, said the partnership reflected the foundation’s optimism about Ghana’s future and was aligned to its country’s strategy of investing in agriculture and adjacent sectors to unlock work opportunities for young people.
She said this would help to push for system-level changes that position Ghana as a continental demonstration of agriculture innovations that are suited to the African context.