MINNEAPOLIS – Cargill is partnering with Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) to launch Asia’s first digital business studio. The studio is designed to support local founders with investments that bring Cargill solutions to market and accelerate innovation for the food and agriculture industry in Asia-Pacific.
Through the three-year partnership, Cargill will develop a portfolio of at least five new startups in Singapore. Startups will focus on pressing industry challenges – from increasing access to market data for smallholder farmers to creating more efficient, transparent and cost-effective food supply solutions.
To lead these new startups, Cargill is immediately recruiting experienced entrepreneurs who are passionate about solving some of the most pressing problems facing the global food and agriculture system. Entrepreneurs will have access to resource investment, business management and innovation processes proven in other markets.
“Cargill is combining its deep industry expertise with the speed and agility of a startup approach to launch the digital business studio,” said Ross Hamou-Jennings, chairman of Asia Pacific at Cargill. “Together, we aim to solve some of the region’s toughest food and agriculture challenges in new ways. With Singapore’s importance and reputation as a vibrant agri-innovation hub, we are delighted to partner with EDB on this initiative. We are confident that the digital business studio will encourage courage, creativity and inspiration to advance the sustainability of the food and agriculture sector in the region.”
The partnership builds on EDB’s efforts to boost Singapore’s corporate entrepreneurship movement, encouraging companies to build new businesses with startup-like agility. Efforts include investing in growth areas beyond their core businesses to keep up with the pace of rapid disruption change.
“We are excited to partner with Cargill in building ventures in Singapore that have the potential to become leading global agri-food businesses,” said Choo Heng Tong, executive vice president, New Ventures and Innovation, EDB. “Cargill can offer significant advantages to these ventures through its deep domain expertise, customer networks and global scale, leveraging Singapore’s connectivity to key markets and research and development capabilities. These ventures will be at the forefront of innovation, complementing Singapore’s development of new agri-food solutions and contributing to global food resilience efforts.
The Digital Business Studio will be a space for Cargill to incubate and scale transformative startups, in close partnership with customers. It allows for expanded reach in digital innovation, bringing new solutions to meet the changing needs of the food and agriculture industries. For example:
- Farmers across Asia face challenges ranging from unstable crop yields, low access to credit or financing, and limited visibility to constantly changing crop prices. To feed Asia’s growing population and address other challenges, digital solutions are needed to play a critical role in farmers’ livelihoods by improving their productivity and profitability.
- Small and medium-sized restaurants and retailers in Southeast Asia have highly manual processes to access and source the ingredients they need from a fragmented supplier base. New digital advances can increase the reliability and flexibility of the ingredient supply chain by providing direct access to a unified business-to-business food ordering system.
“This is a unique model where entrepreneurs can transform the industry and make lasting change on a regional and even global scale,” said Eric Parkin, head of the global digital business studio at Cargill. “The opportunity to wake up every day and create solutions that improve lives and feed the world is changing the game.”
The digital business studio builds on Cargill’s existing investment in innovation and commitment to Asia, where the company is helping farmers and food operators overcome their most significant challenges and seize new opportunities. Cargill has four innovation centers across Asia: Singapore, Gurgaon, Beijing and Shanghai. At these centers, Cargill leverages global expertise in animal proteins, refined oils, sweeteners, starches, cocoa, texture solutions and unique flavors.