AgFunder’s Southeast Asia foodtech accelerator GROW announced this week the launch of a new program focused specifically on food security. Dubbed Singapore Food Bowl, the program invites startups working to build “more resilient, decentralized agrifood ecosystems.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed a lot of light on just how flawed the global food system is, from how we grow and raise food to how we get it across borders and into markets. “The lockdowns and disruptions triggered by COVID-19 have shown the fragility of people’s access to essential goods and services,” the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems wrote in April.
AgFunder highlighted the need for more localized food systems in its announcement this week, and that’s where Singapore Food Bowl comes in. Singapore is the second most densely populated country in the world and relies almost solely on imports to feed its people. The government in Singapore launched its 30×30 goal last year, which aims to produce 30 percent of the country’s food locally by 2030. And in April 2020, the government unveiled the 30×30 Express Grant that will boost local production of eggs, fish, and leafy greens via a $21 million (USD) fund.
As far as program participants, GROW is looking for companies developing new technologies that can “materially improve productivity in the areas aligned with Singapore’s 30×30 food pillars, namely protein production and leafy greens,” according to the program’s website. Think vertical farming solutions and alternative protein methods and ingredients.
The 12-week program is completely virtual, and participants should expect to commit 1–2 hours per day, three days a week, for program work. According to the announcement, prospective applicants should be incorporated in Singapore or come from the Asia-Pacific region. They will also need a minimum viable product to be accepted into the program.
In addition to curriculum, program participants get access to mentors and potential investors, as well as the chance to participate in a virtual demo day at the end of the program. There is also the opportunity to secure future investment from AgFunder and its co-investment partners.
Applications are open until June 7, 2020.