LettUs Grow is one of the eight UK teams selected for the expansion-to-Asia program. Image credit: LettUs Grow

GROW & Innovate UK launch bespoke program to take British agrifood startups to Asia

October 20, 2021

Disclosure: GROW is backed by AgFunder, which is AFN’s parent company.

GROW and Innovate UK have selected eight UK-based agrifood companies to participate in the inaugural cohort of the Global Incubator Programme – Gateway to Asia, an internationalization assistance initiative helping businesses to grow and scale in the region, delivered with the support of Innovate UK EDGE and the British Chamber of Commerce Singapore

The eight teams are:

  • Born Maverick – white-label nutritious plant-based foods and desserts
  • Eagle Genomics – life sciences data platform for microbiome-based insights
  • Entocycle – black soldier fly farming for pet food and animal feed
  • INDO Lighting – optimizing LED lighting systems for controlled environment ag
  • LettUs Grow – aeroponics and farm management software for controlled environment ag
  • Multus Media – animal-free growth media for cell-based meat
  • Neitiv – coconut flower beer for women
  • Sibelius – all-natural ingredients for health 

Cai Linton, founder of Multus Media, said his team is “excited to work with Innovate UK, GROW, and the other foodtech companies on the program around the nuances of the East Asian market and to build our strategy for capitalizing on the widespread support for cultivated meat.”

“We hope the program will open doors to mission-driven investors, collaborators and customers in Singapore and the broader region.”

Anthony Finbow, CEO, Eagle Genomics, said: “We’re pleased to have been selected to participate in the Global Incubator Programme – Gateway to Asia hosted by Innovate UK, Innovate UK Edge and GROW. As a deeptech pioneer innovating at the intersection of biology and data sciences, Eagle Genomics is supporting the transition to a sustainable future for our food, water, soil, and human health; helping to tackle the world’s grand challenges while unlocking significant economic potential. We are therefore excited to have the opportunity to benefit from valuable mentorship, expertise, as well as introductions and access to Singapore’s rapidly expanding agrifoodtech ecosystem, as we look to Singapore and Asia more broadly.”

Innovate UK’s head of global innovation partnerships, David Golding, said the agency is “delighted to be working with GROW on this exciting initiative which represents the latest expansion of our Global Incubator Programme into Singapore and the broader Asia region.”

“We see big opportunities for innovation collaboration with Singapore in the area of agrifoodtech and will be looking to build future collaborations with our Singapore partners in the future,” he added.

David Kelly, executive director at the British Chamber of Commerce Singapore, said that “supporting UK businesses in market is a key attribute” of his organization.

“With the Chamber’s wide network in the local business ecosystem and dedicated trade team, we look forward to working with the eight innovative companies in collaboration with GROW and Innovate UK to support and develop business opportunities.”

Over the course of the next six months, the Global Incubator Programme will help the eight selected companies validate their market fit and co-develop an internationalization roadmap to establish their in-market presence in Asia. It will provide participants with expert support from Innovate UK and GROW, including access to their mentor and partner networks. The five-month program is integrated with GROW’s Land x Launch™ platform, allowing entrepreneurs to capitalize on GROW’s network to access suppliers, channel partners, corporates, and customers in Asia.

The Global Incubator Programme leverages the growth in demand for more sustainable food systems across Asia, driven by changing consumer preferences, income growth, digitalization, and an increased focus on climate- and pandemic-resilient supply chains.

“Congratulations to the eight companies who have successfully made it through the application process and are now on the verge of embarking on a new journey in Asia. You are thriving examples of the Singapore-UK partnership for the future,” said Kara Owen, UK High Commissioner to Singapore.

“If there is a key lesson learnt from Covid-19, it is how much stronger we become when we work together. The current global supply chain disruption showed us the necessity of being able to adapt and to build resilience. Our bilateral innovation relationship will not only bring technology in the agrifood sector to the fore, but will also address humankind’s urgent needs on food security and sustainability, just as Singapore’s ‘30 by 30’ plan and the UK’s new national Innovation Strategy intend. I am looking forward to how the team’s ambitions will be realized over the next six months.”

To learn more about the program, visit www.innovateukedge.ukri.org/enter-new-markets/Global-Incubator-Programme

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