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UK agritech innovation expands into Singapore

Churning out alternatives to animal proteins can often be an expensive and lengthy process, but new software by British firm New Wave Biotech aims to make it faster and cheaper.

The firm is among eight British companies that are looking to expand into Singapore through a global incubator programme.

The Innovate UK Global Incubator Programme is a partnership between Singapore Deep-Tech Alliance (SDTA), a sustainability-focused venture builder, and national innovation agency Innovate UK.

Firms involved in the eight-month programme can join two immersion visits to Singapore and receive mentoring from sector experts.

Participating start-ups and businesses will get to work with Singapore’s businesses, universities, labs and investors to encourage them to deploy novel technology for manufacturing.

This includes using additive manufacturing, industrial Internet of Things, digital transformation, advanced sensors, robotics, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality within the advanced manufacturing sector, and applying the solutions across various industries such as food processing and agritech, aerospace, biomanufacturing and shipbuilding.

New Wave Biotech, which started in June 2022, helps sustainable alternative protein businesses optimise their production processes. They do this by using computer modelling to conduct virtual experiments and make improvements.

This helps sustainable alternative protein businesses reduce production costs and speed up research and development. As a result, these businesses can bring their products to market more efficiently, said co-founder and chief executive officer Zoe Law.

She was inspired to kick-start the business by the potential of alternative proteins, such as dairy proteins, to transform food sustainability and security.

“However, research on cost components involved in researching and developing alternative proteins revealed how expensive, inefficient and manual bioprocess optimisation is today.”

Another company that will benefit from the programme is manufacturing company Synthotech’s tech start-up, Synovate.

Started in 2020, Synovate specialises in the production of miniaturised robotic vehicles capable of detecting leaks in pressurised pipelines without the need for excavation that will disrupt traffic and roadways.

Its robots are able to scan pipelines to locate and visualise the leak without stopping the flow of the fluid in the pipes and apply a repair solution to fix the leak, said Synthotech director Simon Langdale.

UK-based cloud service provider Mestec will also be expanding to Singapore through the programme. The provider’s manufacturing execution software monitors, records and controls the process of manufacturing products from the start to the end.

“Through the programme, we got the opportunity to make use of SDTA’s professional networks and resources, and connect with sector experts and experienced deep-tech entrepreneurs in Singapore,” said Ms Nicole Ballantyne, head of customer success at Mestec.

Other than Singapore, the global incubator programme currently operates in the United States, Canada and Australia.

German testing firm TUV SUD, which is one of SDTA’s corporate partners, will be one of the companies providing mentoring and solutions to the start-ups to set their products on the right path as they enter the Asian market.

Japanese electrical equipment manufacturer Omron will also be working with SDTA to establish connections with Innovative UK and deep-tech start-ups in the advanced manufacturing space.

The live lab at its automation centre is open for the start-up community to conduct test-bedding of novel technology that can enhance Omron’s solutions.

“This (live lab) can also serve as a platform to showcase their technologies with Omron’s solutions that can potentially be presented to our global business development teams including Omron UK,” said Mr Swaminathan Vangal-Ramamurthy, the head of Omron’s robotics business division.

Mr Jon Hazell, global incubator partnership manager at Innovate UK, said Singapore’s manufacturing sector is a burgeoning market as it is a key driver for the country’s economy, making it attractive to UK companies,

“We aim to help small and medium-sized enterprises tackle the challenges of entering global markets by providing access to world-class mentors and tailored workspaces. This enables them to explore the growth potential of specific overseas markets and better understand the challenges and opportunities, including the needs of future customers,” he added.

Some opportunities in the Singapore market that are attractive to British manufacturing companies include finding applications for artificial intelligence, growing bio-manufacturing as well as discovering new design approaches for remanufacturing, he noted.


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