Cargill opens digital business studio in Asia

MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill has partnered with Singapore’s 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 agriculture industry in the Asia-Pacific region.

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 delivery 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 investment in resources, 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 Hamu-Jennings, president of Cargill’s Asia Pacific region. “Together, we aim to solve some of the region’s toughest food and agriculture challenges in new ways.” With Singapore’s prominence and reputation as a vibrant hub for agricultural innovation, we are delighted to collaborate with EDB on this initiative. We are confident that the Digital Business Studio will foster the 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 develop the corporate venture movement in Singapore, encouraging companies to build new businesses with startup-like agility. Efforts include investing in growth areas outside of their core business to stay ahead of the rapidly changing pace of disruption.

“We are excited to partner with Cargill in building ventures in Singapore that have the potential to become global leading agri-food businesses,” said Chu Heng Tong, Executive Vice President, New Ventures and Innovation, EDB. “Cargill can provide significant advantages to these ventures through its deep domain expertise, client networks and global scale, while leveraging Singapore’s connectivity to key markets and R&D capabilities. These ventures will be at the forefront of innovation, complementing Singapore’s development of new agri-food solutions and contributing to global food sustainability efforts.”

The Digital Business Studio will be a space for Cargill to incubate and scale transformative startups in close partnership with customers. It enables the expansion of the scope of digital innovation, providing new solutions to meet the changing needs of the food and agriculture industry. For example:

  • Farmers across Asia face challenges ranging from erratic yields, poor access to credit or financing, and limited visibility to ever-changing crop prices. To feed Asia’s growing population and meet other challenges, digital solutions are needed to play a critical role in farmers’ livelihoods by improving their productivity and profitability.
  • Small to medium-sized restaurants and retailers in Southeast Asia have highly manual processes to access and obtain the ingredients they need from a fragmented supplier base. New digital enhancements can increase the reliability and flexibility of the ingredient supply chain by providing direct, enabling direct access to a unified food ordering system from any business.

“This is a unique model where entrepreneurs can transform an industry and make lasting change on a regional and even global scale,” said Eric Parkin, head of global digital business studio at Cargill. “Being able 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 investment in innovation and commitment to Asia, where the company is helping farmers and food operators overcome their most significant challenges and take advantage of 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.

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