Brinc Announce Program to Support Singaporean Food Startups Seeking Mainland China Market Entry, in partnership with Enterprise Singapore

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  • Introducing a landing pad program for commercially-ready food technology startups in Singapore looking to enter the Chinese market

Brinc, a leading venture accelerator with a global sustainability mandate; and Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG), a Singapore government agency championing enterprise development, will together launch the Food Technology Program (The Program) to provide the tools, expertise, and commercial network necessary to help Singapore-based food technology startups successfully enter the mainland China market. The Program is under EnterpriseSG’s Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) initiative in China, which partners with accelerators in major innovation hubs to connect Singaporean startups with overseas business and technology communities.

The Program is specifically designed for startups that have a focus on plant-based meat or dairy, novel ingredients, nutraceuticals or food as medicine, food safety, shelf life stability, or sustainable packaging. These commercially-ready food technology startups will receive support through a combination of educational content, network access, and advisory services.

Delivered virtually, The Program will be run on a rolling basis, with startups participating in cohorts of two-to-three per intake to allow for hands-on, tailored support. Applications for The Program are now open, with the first cohort expected to start in May 2023. Interested applicants can apply here.

Over 12 weeks, participants will be able to leverage Brinc and EnterpriseSG’s extensive networks in the food technology industry, meeting potential commercial partners including mainland China-based food brands, hospitality groups, restaurants, and grocery stores. Participants will also learn core educational content including go-to-market and commercialization best practices in the context of mainland China, with a particular focus on importability, regulation, pricing, market sizing, and customer discovery.

To further support startups with their market entry, participants will be given the opportunity to work out of Brinc’s Shanghai office to connect directly with potential customers and partners. They will also be provided access to Brinc and EnterpriseSG’s networks of regional investors both during and after The Program.

The mentors and partners supporting the program have a strong track record of helping foreign food brands enter mainland China and commercialize through online and offline distribution channels. They have worked with leading and emerging food brands such as Danone, Tindle, and Cacaolat.

While this is a non-investment program, participating startups will have access to Brinc and EnterpriseSG’s network of regional investors during and after the program.

There is a growing curiosity around alternative protein in mainland China, driven by the government’s push to diversify the country’s protein sources through increased government funding in support of alternative protein development, and recent diseases and responses to them, which have made consumers more open to plant-based and cultivated alternatives.

Notable domestic startups within the alternative protein space include Brinc portfolio companies CellX and Haofood. More recently, foreign players have also entered the market to capitalize on a US$1.96 billion protein market, including Hong Kong’s Green Monday and industry leaders such as Beyond Meat and Eat Just.

“We anticipate that a large number of foreign food technology companies will turn their attention towards mainland China to access its massive consumer population.” Manav Gupta, Founder and CEO of Brinc, said. “In order to be successful in the region, we believe it is essential for companies to craft a strategy rooted in a deep understanding of local consumer behavior, taste preferences, and sensory expectations. Furthermore, it’s paramount that companies bring something different to the table and prioritize appropriate sales channels to reach their target customers. There’s a lot of nuance to this, which is why this program is designed to bridge any gaps in understanding and optimize chances for regional success. We’ve long admired Enterprise Singapore’s relentless dedication to providing food technology startups with the infrastructure, capital, and network to scale beyond the Singaporean market, and are excited about partnering with them to bring this program to life.”

Eugene Toh, Director of Food Manufacturing and Agritech at Enterprise Singapore, said “Singapore has been working with like-minded partners in the agri-food industry to tackle global challenges together through innovation, investment and internationalization. As the need for sustainable and innovative food solutions grows, we seek to increase access to market opportunities and identify the right collaborations for Singapore-based food technology startups to scale beyond Singapore. We are happy to partner Brinc on this regional market accelerator program and encourage startups looking to establish a presence in the Chinese market to tap this program.”

Brinc launched Asia’s first Food Tech accelerator and their flagship food technology accelerator program in 2018 to accelerate cutting-edge, early-stage companies emerging out of APAC, North America and Europe. Today Brinc has a portfolio of over 50 food companies, and is on target to make an additional 20 to 30 food technology investments in 2023.


 
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