Locally grown, farm to table organic greens grown in the heart of Singapore’s bustling CBD!!!
What’s your story?
I’m just a regular guy that has decided to risk it all on trying something completely new. I’ve always floated between industry or jobs; starting off in auditing, moving into banking and ending up in IT sales. Now I’ve gone completely off the rails and decided to try my hand at farming.
My business partner and I have gone out of our way to bring vertical urban farming to Singapore and soon South East Asia. Although our methods may not be reinvented, our approach most certainly will. We started our company Sustenir Agriculture (Singapore) Pte Ltd in 2013 and are about to launch our first city farm concept in June’15. We will be the only indoor farm to be concentrating our crop on high value goods centered around nutritional properties; most notably is our kale, which will be the only locally produced western kale ever done in Singapore. We are also experimenting with growing lambs, lettuce (a.k.a. Mache/Corn Salad), a notoriously difficult plant that generally grows in sub-zero temperatures.
What excites you most about your industry?
The most exciting thing about agriculture as a whole is that there is so much room for improvement and optimization. It is a rather archaic industry, especially in this part of the world, and so this gives us a chance to reinvent it – both in practice and in image.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I’ve grown up in Asia my whole life, born to a dutch father and a Singaporean mother- I’ve always felt more in tune with my Chinese side. I was born in Hong Kong, raised in Singapore- lived in Australia, China and again in Hong Kong. I think it’s safe to say I’ll never leave Asia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Definitely Hong Kong. It’s the pinnacle of opportunity in the region. Business there is done on the back of relationships, which are most often cultivated through an exchange of favours. I feel that this culture breeds a very incubating environment for both professionals and entrepreneurs alike.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Take all of your expectations and cut them in half. Expect the worst and hope for the best.
Who inspires you?
Passionate people. People that are good at what they do because they love it.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Did you know that plants can hear? I certainly didn’t…
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have made all my mistakes in one shot at the beginning. Mistakes are helpful – they teach you what not to do, but the time taken to learn those mistakes is what you have to keep your eye on, time is money and losing either does not make for good business.
How do you unwind?
Extreme sports tends to do the trick. I have to scare myself out of thinking about work.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali, the most relaxed place on earth. I like it there because I love to surf, the food is great, the people are kind and the 3G network is shoddy so emails don’t come through to distract you.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Zero to One”- By Peter Thiel
Shameless plug for your business:
At Sustenir Agriculture we pride ourselves on bringing you Produce Perfected. You can find our tasty Tuscan kales in SaladStop and soon to be gracing the shelves of Cold Storage and Marketplace. Stay tuned by following us on Facebook and Instagram: SustenirAgriculture
#SustainableFarming #ProducePerfected #Sustenir #SGotKale?
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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