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NIA, Thai Union and Mahidol University Announce 23 Food-tech Startups to join SPACE-F

11 November 2019, BANGKOK - The National Innovation Agency (NIA), Thai Union Group PCL., and Mahidol University’s Faculty of Science announced that 23 startups have joined their food-tech incubator and accelerator program at SPACE-F.

SPACE-F, announced earlier this year, is a collaboration project designed to promote the development of food-tech startups. The first of its kind in Thailand, SPACE-F is supported by Thailand’s NIA to align with the government’s national policy of supporting the food industry through innovation. The program received 142 applications from around the world, with the selection committee recruiting 23 teams from Germany, India, Norway, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. Of those selected, 12 will join the incubator program and 11 will be part of the accelerator program.

Dr. Pun-arj Chairatana, Executive Director, National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) said:

“The food industry contributes greatly to the Thai economy. In a world where digital disruption is having a great impact on consumers, the food industry needs to innovate so it can respond to the changing needs of consumers, including their concerns around food waste. Innovation can help with recycling food and offer environmental-friendly packaging. We also see AI playing a more vital role in the food production process, aligning with the different demands on food products such as function food and energy food. Therefore, SPACE-F is an important step for our country’s food industry.”

Dr. Tunyawat Kasemsuwan, Group Director – Global Innovation, Thai Union Group, said:

“Thai Union, as one of the world’s seafood leaders, has long driven our business with a focus on innovation. Our partnership with the NIA and Mahidol University in SPACE-F is another platform where we can offer our expertise in innovation in the food business to startups. SPACE-F provides labs and working space for 23 startups. The program also provides other knowledge and skills including finance and management to ensure these startups will successfully bring their ideas to commercial levels.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sittiwat Lertsiri, Dean, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, said:

“Mahidol University’s Faculty of Science is one of the leading schools of science in Thailand. We are resourceful and well-equipped in high-level research and development in science and technology. This will help build food innovation through technology, which will eventually contribute to the Thai economy. Apart from our labs and know-how, the SPACE-F program will benefit from our networks in helping to develop their products.”

The SPACE-F program has nine areas of focus:

  • Health & Wellness;
  • Alternative Proteins;
  • Smart Manufacturing;
  • Packaging Solutions;
  • Novel Food & Ingredients;
  • Biomaterials & Chemicals;
  • Restaurant technology;
  • Food Safety & Quality;
  • Smart Food Services

SPACE-F is a partnership between public, private and academic sectors that will draw support in funding, visa facilitation, marketing, public relations, major events in innovation such as Startup Thailand and Innovation Thailand Expo, including collaboration with international organizations.

About Thai Union Group

Thai Union Group PCL is the world’s seafood leader bringing high quality, healthy, tasty and innovative seafood products to customers across the world for more than 40 years.

Today, Thai Union is regarded as the world’s largest producer of shelf-stable tuna products with annual sales exceeding THB 133.3 billion (US$ 4.1 billion) and a global workforce of over 47,000 people who are dedicated to pioneering sustainable, innovative seafood products.

The company’s global brand portfolio includes market-leading international brands such as Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire, Parmentier, Mareblu, King Oscar, and Rügen Fisch and Thai-leading brands SEALECT, Fisho, Qfresh, Monori, Bellotta and Marvo.

As a company committed to innovation and globally responsible behavior, Thai Union is proud to be a member of the United Nations Global Compact, and a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). In 2015, Thai Union introduced its SeaChange® sustainability strategy. Find out more at Thai Union’s on-going work on sustainability issues was recognized in 2018 and 2019 by being ranked number one in the world in the Food Products Industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, achieving a 100th percentile ranking for total sustainability score. Thai Union has now been named to the DJSI for six consecutive years. Thai Union was also named to the FTSE4Good Emerging Index for the third straight year in 2018.

About National Innovation Agency

National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) or “NIA” under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation of Thailand, is the operational core organization to enhance Thailand innovation system. NIA acts as the key system integrator that facilitates and drives the whole national innovation system in 5 aspects both locally and internationally. This includes innovation policy, innovation capabilities, innovation ecosystem, innovation project, and recognition on innovation Thailand. Startup has become one of NIA’s target group due to its potential to harness innovation and to drive Thailand’s economic growth. Accordingly, NIA provides comprehensive supports for startup development in Thailand including seed grants, business consultancy, SMART VISA, and market exposure. NIA also launched “Startup Thailand Centre” to be a one-stop-service for both local and international startups, who want to set up their businesses in Thailand. NIA also hosts Thailand’s biggest startup event, “Startup Thailand” with more than 60,000 visitors in 2018 event, to promote the international partnership and development of startup ecosystem in Thailand.

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About Mahidol University

Mahidol University has established its international collaborations that support the collaborative activities with various universities and institutes around the world. The university recently maintains the Memorandum of Understandings (MOA) and Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) signed with 434 outstanding universities/institutes coming from 46 respective countries in terms of research and education collaboration frameworks. For examples, the collaboration established with Tokyo University, Osaka University and Chiba University as active collaborators from Japan.

For a curriculum development, Mahidol University has also developed the 18 joint curriculum with international institutes, divided into 14 Double Degree and 4 Joint Degree Programs.

The scope of collaboration is outstandingly formed in terms of joint research, technology transfer, expertise & staff exchanges, joint supervision, sharing of financial supports, these activities help to strengthen up the motivation of network and encourage institutions to create innovation. The strong collaborative networks of Mahidol University with many institutions can empower both of research and academic operation in various scientific areas such as Data Analysis, Biological & Physical sciences, Biomedical, and Preclinical sciences, etc. These will help to enhance the mutual research advantages and provide professional advice to new innovators.

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