The Senegal Start-Up Accelerator, an initiative run by an organisation known as the Kosmos Innovation Center and the Reach for Change group, has enabled five young Senegalese entrepreneurs to receive six months’ worth of business incubation and $2,000 in seed-funding to kick-start their business.
The Kosmos innovation center is a project aimed at nurturing the development of market-based solutions that address various development challenges while Reach for Change is a non-profit organisation founded by the Kinnevik Group to improve the lives of children and youth.
The Accelerator has been looking for young Senegalese entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that could tackle the challenges facing the agriculture sector through technology to join its program for the last two months. The program is designed to support innovators in the fishing and agricultural sectors to develop their commercial solutions and maximize their impact, helping them to navigate the early stages of business growth.
Over the course of six months, the program will provide five of its winners with intensive and expert individual and group training, organized visits to established businesses for market research and professional mentoring. The winners will also receive $2000 each in seed funding, with the chance to secure additional funding upon completion of the program.
The five entrepreneurs selected to join the accelerator have successfully completed an extensive screening process, including interviews and background checks, an assessment panel and an intensive two day boot-camp. The boot-camp culminated in a pitch before a jury panel with judges from Reach for Change, Kosmos Energy, an American international oil company with operations across parts of Africa, and prominent experts from the agricultural and fishing industries in Senegal.
“Through this accelerator program, we’re delighted to do our part to ensure young, promising entrepreneurs have the skills and support needed to help turn their innovative business ideas into reality,” said Mamadou Mar Faye, External Affairs and CSR Manager for Kosmos Energy.
“Each winner will be guided through the process of developing a product that is ready for market and meets a real market need, contributing to the creation of a healthy and competitive agricultural sector in Senegal. Look out for five exciting new products coming to the market in just six months’ time,” Faye commented.
The five winning entrepreneurs include Mouhamadou Lamine Kebe of Tool Bi whose innovation works to facilitate irrigation and improve agricultural yields; Mame Diarra Sarr of a startup dubbed Fraisen/Waalu Ma Aagri, who has developed an efficient way of producing organic strawberries in Senegal; Abdourahmane Diop of Jappandil who developed a platform that connects farmers to qualified agricultural experts, service providers and materials; Aliou Diallo of Sigle: Senphytomed Suarl who is working to improve access herbal products and natural remedies; and Arfang Mafoudji Sonko of GIE Senbioagro Corporation whose innovation works to reduce food waste while creating employment and transforming excess yields into market-ready products.
The cohort will begin a six-month Senegal Start-Up Accelerator program beginning this January.