The Kosmos Social Investment Program Is Focused On Developing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs – Sarpong
The Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) is the flagship social investment programme created by Kosmos Energy Ghana in 2016 to help Ghana build a brighter future by tackling some of the country’s key challenges. The KIC begins its work by choosing an area of focus from one of Ghana’s many different sectors. This year, like the previous, the KIC is focused on agriculture – the largest sector in Ghana’s economy – where it will pursue and nurture the development of market-based solutions that address various development challenges. From a large pool of applicants, businesses with the best ICT and innovation model will receive $50,000 each in seed funding and technical assistance from the KIC, as well as mentorship from the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), to build their ideas into viable businesses.
JEROME ONOJA had this discussion with Mr George Sarpong, the Director of Corporate Affairs, Kosmos Energy Ghana, who gave more insights into the social investment programme.
Can you tell us a little bit about your social investment programme?
The Kosmos social investment program is focused on developing and catalyzing the next generation of entrepreneurs, particularly the Agric value chain. When we go to any country, we become part and parcel of that country and we are particularly interested in the socio-economic development of the country. So, we identify what is key and invest in it. In Ghana, Agriculture is key and the sector’s contribution to GDP averages 20 percent according to PWC. Therefore, we concentrate on developing entrepreneurs into what we call Agro-preneurs. We are focused on bringing solutions and efficiency into the Agric value chain. That is what we do.
Can you give us an insight on how the programme runs?
Application is open to those who want to be entrepreneurs. For example, we got up to 600 applications this year and we sieved them, called the successful ones for interviews. Once they come for the interview, they become part of the program. It’s a 9-monthprogramme. We apply capacity support, mentoring and training, and in-between they get a chance to pitch their businesses ideas. In the final pitch, we make investments in the companies that are outstanding and they go for incubation. For example, in 2016 when we launched this programme, we had two companies where we invested in the market place. They are operating well today. We currently have four other companies that are in incubation and by September, they should be out there operating. So again, this is the third cycle of the programme and it’s growing.
What are we going to be expecting in the next phase of this programme?
We will continue. This company is going to continue to see that we make a real transformative impact in Ghana and then we may switch to another sector, we have created a template that is multi-sector in approach; it can operate in several other sectors.
Tell us about OTC and your take away from here.
OTC is the opportunity where companies get to showcase their latest tools, their latest technology; we at Kosmos choose to showcase the Kosmos Innovation Centre, because we believe in it. We have chosen to show what I call the soft side of the company.