Official kick-off: Thought For Food and KWS partnership

Einbeck, June 25, 2019

One question central to the future: How can a growing world population be fed in a sustainable, healthy and environmentally conscious way? Thought For Food (TFF) is a global non-profit organization dedicated to engaging, empowering, and investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs to enable innovation within the agricultural and food spaces. The international seed specialist KWS has been a partner of TFF for several months. TFF and KWS kicked off the collaboration with an opening event at the KWS site in Berlin.

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“In the past six years, TFF has worked with over 15,000 young leaders from 160 countries and helped launch over 50 startups delivering innovation across the entire food and agricultural value chains and enabled solutions to important challenges such as improving productivity, sustainability, and nutrition. We provide specialist knowledge, industry contacts and capital, develop new ideas, and have already co-founded more than 50 start-ups in the fields of biotechnology, food, agriculture and logistics," emphasizes Christine Gould, Founder and CEO of TFF, in her speech.

In addition to breeding high-performing and resource-saving varieties, one of KWS’s strategic pillars includes the development of sustainable solutions for agriculture, e.g. using digital instruments. With its commitment, KWS wants to drive forward groundbreaking innovations in the seed industry and agriculture. The three-year collaboration will include learning and mentoring programs, global and local events, and access to young entrepreneurs and innovators.

“For us, partnerships such as those with TFF are a valuable breeding ground to work with the next generation of experts and thought leaders in food and agriculture, to share our knowledge, and to identify and develop new trends. We are happy to support fresh ideas and to help shape them", says Laura Lee in dialogue with TFF. She is part of the Digital Innovation Accelerator (DIA) at KWS. The DIA is KWS's innovation team tasked with fostering KWS's and farmers' adoption of digital innovations for the benefit of worldwide agriculture. It aims to fast-track the pace of agtech development by collaborating with companies and organizations creating novel digital technologies. KWS already offers farmers a wide range of digital services, such as the unique SAT TS-Monitoring system, which uses satellite imagery to determine the optimum time for harvesting silage corn.

"The young generation has clear values, a pronounced entrepreneurial mindset, and plenty of great ideas. To implement these ideas, however, not only specialist knowledge is required, but also, among other things, expertise in economic or technical implementation and capital”, explains Gould. Start-ups in the agricultural and food technology segment worldwide raised a total of around 15 billion euros in investment funds in 2018. This corresponds to an increase of 43 percent compared with the previous year. “In addition, innovations in the agricultural sector are still very decentralized. This is precisely where TFF comes in and networks the relevant groups across national borders. It is very important for us to have KWS as an industry partner."

The Berlin event hosted this June marked a new steppingstone for KWS and TFF to further involve KWS employees in TFF’s programs. One such program is TFF Digital Labs, the first global digital accelerator and learning platform for food and agriculture entrepreneurs and startups, which will be officially launched on World Food Day, October 16, 2019. The platform enables communication, knowledge management, collaboration, and mentoring.

About thought For Food

Thought For Food is the leading global organization to engage, empower and support the next generation of entrepreneurs to solve food and agriculture’s biggest challenges. They work with more than 15,000 young leaders from over 160 countries, helped scale thousands of ideas and run an annual collaborative prize competition, digital educational program and global conference to bring the next-generation voice into the conversation and solution development about the future of food and agriculture. They help build talent, develop new innovations and raise the reputation of the industry as a whole. Thought For Food is a 501c3 non-profit entity.

Find out more about Thought For Food at https://thoughtforfood.org/, LinkedIn or Twitter.

About KWS*

KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. In the fiscal year 2017/18, more than 5,000 employees in 70 countries generated net sales of EUR 1,068 million and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of EUR 133 million. A company with a tradition of family ownership, KWS has operated independently for more than 160 years. It focuses on plant breeding and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, rapeseed and sunflowers. KWS uses leading-edge plant breeding methods to increase farmers’ yields and to improve resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. To that end, the company invested approximately EUR 200 million in research and development in the fiscal year 2017/2018.

* All figures exclude the companies carried at equity AGRELIANT GENETICS LLC., AGRELIANT GENETICS INC. and KENFENG – KWS SEEDS CO., LTD.

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Sina Barnkothe
Sina Barnkothe
Expert Corporate Communications
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