Food tech start-ups undergo scale up with launch of new entrepreneurial challenge

Submissions to the Challenge have started from 4 November 2022 and will be evaluated on a rolling basis until 27 January 2023. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Nurasa, A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) and Trendlines Agrifood Innovation Centre (AFIC), along with the support of Enterprise Singapore have launched an open call for submissions to the inaugural Food Tech Start-Up Challenge in a collective effort to accelerate the production and commercialisation of sustainable foods in Asia

Open to start-ups in the global agrifood technology sector, the Challenge invites pitch submissions from entrepreneurs specialising in either of two particular areas: the optimisation of alternative proteins, functional foods, or creation of novel product formats in the alternative protein or functional foods space.

Of particular interest to the Challenge’s stakeholders will be alternative protein start-ups with technologies that enable the production of animal-free meat and have the potential to overcome the key issues of current plant-based meat – taste, texture, nutrition and price. A sub-sector of functional foods, that promote health benefits in addition to possessing nutritive value will be of interest to the Challenge’s stakeholders, is the so-called 'silver diet.'

Submissions to the Challenge have started from 4 November 2022 and will be evaluated on a rolling basis until 27 January 2023.

Selected finalists will be invited to proceed to the ‘Bench-Scale Make’ or product development phase. They will benefit from being paired with seasoned industry mentors who can offer advice and insights, access to an extensive network of agrifood ecosystem contacts via regular networking opportunities, as well as a series of start-up workshops organised by Nurasa and partners, with curated sessions encompassing four key business skillset areas: Product and Customer Development, Brand Storytelling and Marketing, Operations and Financing.

These finalists are expected to have a first prototype ready for tasting by the end of the product development phase in the lead-up to the final Pitch and Tasting Day in June 2023. The winning start-ups will be judged on the following criteria: Product Quality, Feasibility, Market Potential, Innovativeness and Capability. 

The final winners of the Challenge will be awarded, among other prises and incentives, early access to cutting-edge technologies and tools at Nurasa’s Food Tech Innovation Centre (FTIC) as well as the opportunity to work closely with industry leaders to scale up the development of their novel, animal-free food products to the pre-commercialisation stage.

Nurasa client Development manager Jolene Lum, said, “With the Food Tech Start-Up Challenge, we hope to support entrepreneurs in overcoming [the pain points experienced by start-ups in scaling up and commercialising their products] and provide them with an effective platform to accelerate their growth and be a key contributor to Asia’s vibrant food tech landscape. We invite food tech start-ups with an exciting and viable idea, no matter where they are in the world, to join!”

To find out more and submit your entry for the Food Tech Start-Up Challenge, visit:

The deadline for Open Call submissions is on Friday, 27 January 2023, 11:59 pm SGT.