02 Nov 2018
A quadripartite partnership to start an open and collaborative ecosystem for startups in food innovation was forged on Friday, 26 October 2018. Aptly named FEED 9 Billion (F9B) to reflect its ambition to play a part in feeding the global population sustainably, the ecosystem aims to encourage innovations that will help address some of the challenges faced throughout the entire chain of the food industry.
The world population is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, according to a report by the United Nations. The same report sounds a dire warning that the current methods of producing, distributing and consuming food will not be sustainable nor effective to feed everyone in the future and that the threat of a food shortage is imminent. At the same time, growing prevalence of health issues such as diabetes and obesity across the world pose a challenge for healthier food options.
With a growing food and beverage industry that contributes an estimated S$14.4 billion to GDP and employs close to 300,000 people, not including the food manufacturing sector that’s worth S$4.3 billion in 2017, Singapore has immense potential to be a leading food and nutrition hub in Asia. This is supported by positive factors such as its high standards of safety and quality, strong government support for innovation, high adoption rate of technology and a thriving entrepreneurial environment. Startups, unlike large corporations, possess the agility and speed to lead innovation in the food industry.
Under the partnership, SIM Platform E, Temasek Polytechnic, Innovate 360 and FocusTech Ventures will facilitate startups’ access to shared resources and networks. Each party will bring its unique expertise to the ecosystem: SIM Platform E’s knowledge and skills to develop founders; Temasek Polytechnic’s food science expertise and resources; and Innovate 360’s ideation and incubation. Both Innovate 360 and FocusTech Venture, in their capacity as Accredited Mentor Partners appointed under Startup SG, will provide funding support. To expand the ecosystem to cover more areas in the food chain, the partnership has plans to welcome more organisations which can bring different value to the ecosystem.
Representing the commitment to create opportunities for food innovations are: (left to right) Mr Wong Kee Meng, Head of Education, Platform E; Mr John Cheng, Director, Business Development, Cheng Yew Heng Candy Factory; Dr Goh Lay Beng, Deputy Director, Skills & Enterprise Development, Temasek Polytechnic; Dr Virginia Cha, Professor-In-Residence, Platform E; Mr Ronald Tan, Executive Director, Singapore Institute of Management; Mr Kelvin Ong, Founder and CEO, FocusTech Ventures; and Mr Samuel Ang, Director, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Temasek Polytechnic.
Mr Wong Kee Meng, Head of Education at SIM Platform E, said: “I hope that F9B will catch on to become a movement and model for open innovation, where organisations and entrepreneurs can see beyond business profits and come together and be integral to bringing about change that can positively impact the 9 billion people who will be soon be sharing this planet".
Kick-starting F9B is the Food Entrepreneurship, Exploration & Design (FEED) Camp, an ideation bootcamp that will be held from 8-10 November at Temasek Polytechnic. It will bring together aspiring entrepreneurs, food innovators, scientists and representatives from food-centric organsations to brainstorm innovative solutions that could disrupt the industry in the areas of food science and production, agriculture technology, food delivery, grocery shopping, and food waste management. During the bootcamp, participants will form teams to compete for the top three prizes of more than $100,000 with their ideas.
As a follow through to the FEED Camp, aspiring entrepreneurs will be able to join Platform E’s Food Innovation Programme next year to further their ideation process, fine-tune and test their ideas, and take them to the market through the necessary training and support provided by Platform E.
Listen to Platform E’s Professor-In-Residence Dr Virginia Cha’s radio interview on food innovations