At the heart of the ASEAN region, Singapore is in a unique position when it comes to creating an ecosystem for startup innovation and success.
In fields like medtech and fintech it has served as a successful launching pad to the rest of the region and the world, not least due to its highly educated workforce, investment-friendly regulatory regime, and the bustling nature of its financial industry.
In agri-foodtech specifically, Singapore has already made great progress with a mix of emerging startups innovating for indoor grow systems, alternative proteins, aquaculture and more. For this reason, we (AgFunder) are launching GROW, a new Singapore-based agri-food tech accelerator with our partners, Rocket Seeder, the Australian agrifood accelerator.
With the combined expertise of AgFunder and Rocket Seeder, and in partnership with Enterprise Singapore and the country’s Economic Development Board, we aim to provide the Singapore agri-foodtech startup ecosystem with a unique value proposition that will ensure that Singapore becomes recognised as both a regional and global hub for the successful development of advanced agri-food technologies, and agri-food value chain and business model innovations.
GROW will launch concurrently with AFN Asia, which will specifically focus on news and research around agri-food innovation and investment in the ASEAN region and our new Singapore-based $50m AgFunder Asia AgriFood Innovation Fund.
The goal of these initiatives is to create a vibrant ecosystem that will not only foster innovation being developed within the ASEAN region but to also invest in and introduce the most exciting agrifood technologies we are seeing globally.
GROW will run two, three-month programs annually incorporating both agtech and foodtech startups. Each week the program will run a range of activities tailored to the entrepreneurs’ specific needs and introduce them to mentors and industry experts who will help them accelerate their business.
“Startups taking part in the GROW program who are at an early stage will leave with refined business models, a developed MVP, identified and targeted customers, and prepared to get funded for the next stage of their development,” my colleague Dr Christine Pitt, GROW co-founder and director wrote in a press release. “Because our accelerator is also open to global entrepreneurs wanting to take advantage of Singapore’s unique position as the world’s most competitive economy, we will also offer a more tailored program to later stage companies (scaleups) to help them grow rapidly and to gain access to new markets, new customers and new investors.”
The first cohort will commence in September 2019, with the call for startups scheduled for July.
In addition to the accelerator program, GROW will undertake a range of other collaborative events and initiatives that together will help build the Singapore agri-foodtech ecosystem and the ASEAN region, including an online 6-8 week pre-accelerator program for global startups, design sprints, bootcamps, seminars and investor missions.