b'MAURITANIA INNOVATION CHALLENGEIn 2018, we expanded the activitiesreceive structured, one-to-one of the KIC into Mauritania with thementoring from an assigned coach, first annual Mauritania Innovationtesting their learning following the Challenge.classes, and receiving personalized The Mauritania Innovationguidance on developing a business Challenge provides the opportunityconcept and planning for the for young people to develop thefirst pitch event. Participants are confidence and skills they need toguided through the early and fragile become entrepreneurs through astages of business growth, learning series of classroom modules andeverything about defining a business problem, creating a valuerefinement and pitch practice, the competitive pitch competitions. Theremaining participants are ready Mauritania Innovation Challengeproposition and understanding and identifying a target audience.for the second and final pitch. takes entrepreneurs on a proven eight-step journey to develop aParticipants are expected toAt the end of the program, market-ready product or service.engage in their own field researchparticipants pitch to a panel and planning to fully informof judges and stakeholders in The program starts with guidedthemselves about their chosenNouakchott. Here, they present classroom learning through themarket and business proposition.their new business ideas and first three foundational teachingproposals. The most promising elements corresponding withThe businesses that pass the first pitch go on to the second round ofideas receive further technical the first half of the businessassistance and potential seed development journey. Participantsintensive support to develop their business plan and to ready theirfunding to continue their growth product for launch. Following ajourney.further period of product testing,In 2018, we received more than 170 applications for the program. Following a rigorous review of the online application process and individual interviews, Kosmos selected the most promising 25 businesses to participate. After several months of individual coaching and training in entrepreneurship, the field of participants was narrowed to 12 businesses which then competed to win admission into a year-long KIC incubation program, as well as initial seed funding to help them launch their businesses.The winners developed innovative business ideas in a range of areas, including construction materials, solid waste removal, electronic money transfer, food delivery, office space, and distance education.Kosmos is providing seed funding to four of the companies, with Banque Mauritanienne pour le Commerce International, a large Mauritanian bank, and SEPCO, a waste management company, supporting two other businesses.'