FHKI and Citi Team Up to Unleash the Power of Food Technology

To strengthen the linkage between industry and food technology-driven startups, and foster industry players to deploy value-added, innovative solutions, Hong Kong Startup Council (“HKSC”), under the auspices of Federation of Hong Kong Industries (“FHKI”), has held Matching Day today. In the midst of tough times, the event has rallied industry leaders across food, environmental protection and advanced manufacturing sectors, as well as active players in the startup ecosystem under one roof to unfold the immense potential of trailblazing food technology.

Following one-on-one consultations and a sequence of upskilling workshops, Matching Day, as a highlight of the 4th STARS Programme, serves as an intuitive platform for 11 star-grade startups to pitch and showcase a range of innovative products/developing projects to a house of prospective clients, investors, collaborators and tech-savvy magnates. These food tech-related solutions, incorporating a tripartite of creativity, frontier technology and social values, are poised to resolve some of the thorniest challenges lying ahead, such as alternative meat supplies, sustainable agriculture, food texture modification, plastic-free packaging, nutrient-dense agri-food with minimised carbon footprint, aquaculture conservation and so forth. Matching Day has successfully opened the door of opportunities for the startups to capture direct insights from related stakeholders, and evolve this matchmaking event into further R&D, pilot and deployment possibilities that exemplify the commercial viabilities and market potential of their businesses.

Mr Jason Chiu, Chairman, HKSC said, “Over decades, the food industry has remained an indispensable industrial pillar in Hong Kong. The food industry alone has accounted for almost a quarter of the value-added of the manufacturing sector, as shown by the latest official statistics. In addition, Hong Kong is in a premier position to offer foods at international excellence, with a number of top-notch food safety standards such as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system and ISO 22000. All these have created the very best prerequisites and a breeding ground for the food industry to soar to new heights.”

Mr Chiu added, “As businesses realise the exigent value of innovative technologies, now is an opportune time for us to rethink how to rebound from the dampened status quo. Thanks to FHKI’s vast network comprising thousands of corporate members from over 32 industry groups, we are a “super-connector” uniting our startups with pertinent stakeholders at the Matching Day, who are urgently eyeing for solutions to stay afloat and future-proof their businesses. By driving cross-sectoral partnership, we are forging tremendous synergies to unleash the power of food technology.”

Mr Anson Kwok, Head of Commercial Bank, Citi Hong Kong said, “Citi has been established in Hong Kong for almost 120 years. We are more “local" than many local companies in Hong Kong. As a corporate citizen, we recognize our responsibility and commitment to creating a positive impact in the communities we serve and to supporting our stakeholders to meet challenges and embrace their greatest opportunities. The STARS Programme truly meets our mission of enabling growth and economic progress, co-creating a sustainable economic future for different stakeholders in Hong Kong.”

In the next two months, 11 star-grade startups will work closely with industrialists they have paired with. In the meantime, they will also receive dedicated mentorship from a cluster of business elites. The startups will share their growth stories, including the gains from mentorships and industrial partnership progresses at Demo Day, which is expected to be held in mid-January 2021.

First organised by HKSC in 2017, STARS Programme is a mentorship and matching-focused accelerator programme that strives to support the growth of early-stage and fast-growing startups with a range of business support, covering business planning, go-to-market strategies, industrial partnership and so on. Food technology takes the centre stage at the 4th cohort of STARS Programme, sponsored by Citi. STARS Programme aims to facilitate startups to fast-track their product commercialisation cycles, and foster knowledge sharing as well as industrial partnership. In less than 5 years, STARS Programme has successfully supported over 40 startups, and beckoned the investment community with an aggregated investment interest of over HK$26 million.