At the latest start-up event of Asia Tech x Singapore - InnovFest x Elevating Founders Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) showcased more than 100 of our start-ups and technologies, and saw over 5,500 delegates at the event. At the showcase, visitors learnt how the biggest names in technology, innovation and investment are shaping the industries of the future, from green technology and genetics to cybersecurity and the metaverse.
Organised by NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of NUS, InnovFest is a flagship tech innovation conference in Asia. InnovFest is where ideas, markets and talent converge, through the gathering of the entire innovation and enterprise ecosystem, including
start-ups, venture capitalists, corporates, institutes of higher learning, government agencies, as well as the media. NUS Enterprise has organised the event in Singapore since 2006 and in Suzhou since 2015.
Guests sampling Curated Culture's newly launched postbiotic post-workout drink, Hydra.
As part of the NUS Giving experience, our guests gained access to the exhibition where they could engage with start-ups from Singapore and the region, including Nafas, who provides a sensor network to monitor air quality conveniently and economically, alternative meat producers Jikara and Meatless Kingdom, a probiotic beer by Probicient, and a microalgal biotechnology start-up Spiralife that cultivates various microalgae species and extract their valuable substance for different applications such as in food and beverages, nutraceuticals and dietary supplements. Guests were also able to sample some of the food products.
After the walkthrough, guests attended a panel discussion, titled: “Food Security: From Lab to Market”, where industry experts discussed the current and future food security issues faced by the human population.
Moderating the panel session is Ms Florence Leong (’86), a mentor and advisor at NUS Enterprise, as well as Co-Founder of KosmodeHealth, a NUS Food Science Technology spin-off that expands access to health by repurposing food wastes for human nutrition
and 3D cell culture.
Panellists Dr Bhatnagar, Ms Ng, Ms Leong, Mr Wei, and Mr Wibowo.
Panellist Dr Somika Bhatnagar, a scientist and educator with over 20 years of research experience in biotechnology and nanotechnology, explained, “Food security is about making food available for people despite climate challenges. Growing nutritious food in a smarter way supports food sustainability. Both are interrelated and cannot be separated.”
“It’s interesting to see how farms have been industrialised to maximise production in a land-scarce area. But the consumers have not changed the way they look at produce. If we want to talk about security and sustainability, we need to be educated about where food comes from. We do tend to take our food supply for granted,” expressed Ms Nichol Ng (’20), CEO and Managing Director of X-Inc Pte Ltd and Co-Founder of The Food Bank Singapore Ltd.
“Food resilience is about the ability to adapt and respond to shocks and stresses to the food ecosystem, such as COVID and climate change,” shared Mr Vincent Wei (’09). “Singapore is vulnerable because we import a lot of our food, but the government manages a stockpile and multiple sources. Everyone has a part to play in this, not just the producers, but also the consumers, the restaurants, the whole value chain,” said the Co-founder and CEO of Archisen, a Singapore-based agritech company that designs, builds, and operates solutions to grow ultra-fresh, ultra-local produce in cities. Archisen operates one of the largest and highest-yielding urban farms in Singapore.
Making the supply chain much more efficient and reducing wastage is the way to go, emphasised Mr Anton Wibowo, CEO of Trendlines Innovation Centre.
“We are obsessed with producing more, but a more efficient supply chain can get the right food to the right place at the right time,” he explained.
The panel went on to provide insights on the progress of the farming industry in Singapore and Singapore’s ambition to build up our agri-food industry’s capability and capacity to sustainably produce 30 per cent of our nutritional needs by 2030.
“We may need to relook at import policies to ensure that our local farmers thrive in the local market. As there are many new farmers just starting out, there needs to be more sharing of knowledge. Our local producers may also want to focus more on providing a higher nutritional level than the average product,” advised Ms Ng.
“For Singapore, we should be looking at developing the right technology rather than increasing production capacity in this little urban city,” added Mr Wibowo.
Dr Bhatnagar is optimistic that we are headed in the right direction.
“We have PhD students, scientists and researchers working on the technology. We are working with philanthropists to bring research to market,” she highlighted.
It was a very interesting discussion with differing views but one thing that all panelists resonated with was that deeper collaborations by all stakeholders are required to uncover better solutions for Singapore to achieve the 30 by 30 goal.
Guests were served sustainable and innovative food products by the startups at lunch.
For further information on the NUS Giving Experience Series, contact the Events team at email@example.com.