MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill is partnering with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) to launch its first digital business studio in Asia. The studio is designed to support local founders with investments that bring Cargill solutions to market and accelerate innovation for the food and beverage industry in Asia Pacific.
Through this three-year partnership, Cargill will develop a portfolio of at least five new startups in Singapore. Startups will focus on pressing industry challenges – from improving 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 issues facing the global food and agriculture system. Entrepreneurs will have access to investments in resources, business management and innovation processes proven in other markets.
“Cargill combines deep industry expertise with the speed and agility of a startup approach to launch the digital business studio,” said Ross Hamou-Jennings, president of Asia-Pacific at Cargill. “Together, we aim to solve some of the region’s toughest food and agriculture challenges in innovative ways. With Singapore’s importance and reputation as a vibrant center of agricultural innovation, we are pleased to partner with EDB on this initiative. We are confident that the digital business studio will encourage boldness, creativity and inspiration to advance the sustainability of the region’s food and agriculture sector.
The partnership builds on EDB’s efforts to grow the entrepreneurial movement in Singapore, encouraging companies to build new ventures with startup-like agility. Efforts include investing in growth areas beyond their core businesses to stay ahead of the rapid pace of disruption.
“We are excited to partner with Cargill to build Singaporean companies that have the potential to become world-leading agribusinesses,” said Choo Heng Tong, Executive Vice President, New Ventures and Innovation, EDB. “Cargill can provide significant benefits to these companies through its deep domain expertise, customer networks and global scale, while leveraging Singapore’s connectivity to key markets and its R&D capabilities. These companies will be at the forefront of innovation, complementing Singapore’s development of new agrifood solutions and contributing to global food resilience efforts.
The digital business studio will be a space for Cargill to incubate and grow transformative startups, in close partnership with customers. It expands the reach of digital innovation, bringing new solutions to meet the changing needs of the food and agricultural industries. For instance:
- Farmers across Asia face challenges ranging from inconsistent crop yield, poor access to credit or finance, and limited visibility into ever-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 for accessing the ingredients they need and sourcing them from a fragmented supplier base. New digital advancements can increase the reliability and flexibility of the ingredient supply chain, providing direct access to a unified B2B food ordering system.
“This is a unique model where entrepreneurs can transform the industry and bring lasting change regionally and even globally,” said Eric Parkin, global head of digital business studio at Cargill. “The opportunity to wake up every day and create solutions that improve lives and feed the world is a game-changer.”
The digital business studio builds on Cargill’s existing investments in innovation and engagement in Asia, where the company is helping farmers and food operators overcome their biggest challenges and seize new opportunities. Cargill has four innovation centers in 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.