9 food entrepreneurs selected to kickstart first-ever Sarawak Gastronomy Incubator programme

Sagah (front row, second left) lifts a lid covering a cake as a gimmick to launch the Sago Incubator 2022 at The Grounds Coworking Space here today (June 16, 2022).

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, June 16: The Hills Kuching, Work and Travel Sarawak (WAT Sarawak), and Retrospective Discovery LLP have announced the selection of nine food entrepreneurs from a pool of over 30 applicants for the first-ever Sarawak Gastronomy (Sago) Incubator programme.

The nine chosen food entrepreneurs are Claudia Chai of The Abraham’s Kitchen, Ezi Firhan of Emillie’s Diner, Kimberley Ling of Tacos By Bojio, Marthineus Langi Michael of Stardust Cafe, Mohd Rozairie Ramlie of Flip And Fold Grill, Nur Fadzila Sarkawi of Aek Kunyit Manjakani, Nur Shaqhima Hamden of Queen’s Kitchen, Ooi See Bee of Cloud-99 Ice Cream, and Saw Yee Ken of Billy Goat Coffee.

The Sago Incubator, a joint initiative of The Hills Kuching, WAT Sarawak, and Retrospective Discovery LLP, is a rigorous 11-week incubation programme which aims to equip early-stage food entrepreneurs with the business acumen, as well as food and digital innovation skills, needed to take their food business to the next level.

The programme was launched here today at The Grounds Coworking Space by Minister of Education, Innovation, and Talent Development (MEITD) Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn.

In his speech, Sagah noted that the majority of food and beverage (F&B) businesses are micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), making it difficult for them to innovate or invest in innovation.

“However, F&B businesses are the backbone of our economy.

“They are one of the major contributors to our economy, and also the source of income and livelihoods for many Sarawakians.

“In fact, the F&B services industry has created the most job opportunities since the pandemic,” he said.

He also pointed out that initiatives like Sago Incubator are crucial to ensure that Sarawak’s economic development is inclusive and ensure prosperity for all Sarawakians.

Meanwhile, The Hills chief operating officer (COO) Lionel Ho in his speech revealed that they were overwhelmed by the number of applications, indicating a growing number of creative and innovative food entrepreneurs in Kuching.

“We are confident that these nine food entrepreneurs will add more flavours and diversity to the gastronomy scene in Sarawak.

“With the help of our trainers and impressive mentors, we hope to see them growing their food business beyond our borders,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the launch event, guests were able to sample food prepared by the Sago Incubator participants.

Also present at the event were Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng, WAT Sarawak managing director Evelyn Teo, Retrospective Discovery LLC managing partner Arif Abdul Rahman, and programme partners and mentors. — DayakDaily