First Sarawak Gastronomy Incubator programme launched to develop future F&B entrepreneurs

Ho (fourth left) and Arif (fifth left) pose for a group photo with some of the representatives of the implementing partners of SAGO Incubator.

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, May 10: Food entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to grow their food businesses through the Sarawak Gastronomy Incubator, or SAGO Incubator, the State’s first food entrepreneur incubation programme.

The Hills Kuching, Work and Travel Sarawak (WAT Sarawak), and Retrospective Discovery LLP have teamed up to launch Sarawak’s first food entrepreneur incubator with the goal of grooming and building the next generation of F&B operators.

According to The Hills chief operating officer (COO) Lionel Ho, SAGO Incubator is a rigorous 11-week programme designed to provide food entrepreneurs with food innovation skills, business acumen, and market development skills to help them grow their food businesses and succeed in the digital economy.

“Food businesses play an important role in our city’s economy and culture.

“Pandemic restrictions and new technological innovations such as food delivery and e-commerce platforms have forced food entrepreneurs to transform the way they conduct business,” said Ho today at the SAGO Incubator Soft Launch event held at The Grounds Coworking Space here.

He revealed that selected food entrepreneurs will have access to commercial kitchens, workshops, masterclasses, clinics, and mentoring from experienced and successful food entrepreneurs, industry experts, and key ecosystem players.

Confirmed mentors include Chef Achang Libat, Datin Dona Drury-Wee of Culinary Heritage and Arts Society Sarawak (CHASS), Cliff Chong of Big Coconut Western, Amin Azninzan of Kedey Kamek, Jasbir Kaur of Masterchef Asia, Lee Swee Lin of PichaEats, Alan Soo of Alfresco Kuching, and Marichelle Livan Lah of Lepau Restaurant.

Ho mentioned that after completing the 11-week course, participants will receive a Food Handler Training Certificate from the Ministry of Health, access to The Grounds Coworking Space and commercial kitchen, access to selected ingredients from Supreme Cold Storage during the programme, and access to commercial spaces to test and develop their market.

“We would also like to see more Sarawak industry players get involved and join us in putting Sarawak on the map.

“We truly hope that we will be able to incubate the next generation of food entrepreneurs, and that this programme will be able to contribute to the growth and success of our beautiful state of Sarawak,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Retrospective Discovery LLC managing partner Arif Abdul Rahman remarked that as one of the latest additions to the Unesco Creative City of Gastronomy, Sarawak’s F&B industry has the potential to be a major contributor to the State’s economy and provide more opportunities for local food entrepreneurs.

“With the State rapidly adopting the digital economy, we have to also ensure industries like F&B services can compete in the digital economy and unlock more opportunities for Sarawakians,” said Arif.

SAGO Incubator will run from the end of May until early-August. Application is still open and will close on May 16, 2022. For more information, visit

Also present were representatives of Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Sarawak (Tegas) Digital Village, Supreme Group, Green Buddy, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), New Sarawak Tribune, Suara Sarawak, Kedey Kamek, and Pullman Kuching, who are the implementing partners of SAGO Incubator. — DayakDaily