Yili expands its global health ecosystems in Europe with StartLife and University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing
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Yili expands its global health ecosystems in Europe with StartLife and University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing

Yili, Asia’s largest and fast-growing dairy company, is now officially partnering with the agrifoodtech accelerator StartLife, in the Netherlands. Yili is also joining the Open Innovation Forum, an industry network for Food and FMCG companies at the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) which is part of the University of Cambridge. Through building this wider ecosystem, Yili will further create collaborations across Europe to work on the challenges faced in the agriculture – food chain to deliver healthy solutions to consumers.

The collaboration with StartLife enables Yili to tap in to the global ecosystem of visionary agri-foodtech start-up and scale-up companies. Together with entrepreneurs the partners will also brainstorm new ideas and facilitate the exchange of conversation across the industry. Yili Innovation Center Europe is based in the same building on the campus of Wageningen University & Research in the heart of Food Valley in The Netherlands, which makes the collaboration a very logical step.

Through becoming a member of the IfM’s Open Innovation Forum, Yili has a unique opportunity to collaborate with industry experts and world-leading academics, gaining access to latest industry insights, tools and techniques. The Open Innovation (OI) Forum also provides a platform for collaboration opportunities between companies from all stages of the Food, Drink & FMCG value chain. The Forum helps members to combine their internal thinking with external insights, ideas and paths to market. It is thereby complementary Yili’s membership in the Corporate Venturing Leadership Forum originating from the Cambridge ecosystem as well.

Through these collaborations, Yili strengthens its access to a very large ecosystem of innovative agriculture and healthy food start-ups to help overcome future challenges facing the industry, including those emerging over the next decade and beyond. This will result in new win-win collaborations, such as proof of concept projects to deliver integrated solutions. Yili will be a catalyst in enabling start-ups to get access to the fast-growing healthy food market in China and the rest of Asia.

Yili ranks among the Global Dairy Top 5 and has sustained an undisputable position of No. 1 in Asia for seven successive years. Yili has the ambition to become the most-trusted healthy food provider across the world. Yili Innovation Center Europe (YICE), based in Wageningen, The Netherlands, is the innovation bridge to Yili in China.

StartLife is Europe’s longest running and leading agrifoodtech accelerator. Its mission is to support founders in accelerating their agrifoodtech startups that help, shape, a sustainable food system. Since 2010, StartLife has built, supported and funded over 300 agrifoodtech startups propelling breakthrough technologies in the domains of food &agriculture.

IfM Engage partners with organisations across industry, government and academia to support them in solving complex challenges, using approaches and knowledge developed at the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), a division of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering. IfM Engage offerings are grounded in exceptional research, combined with a breadth of industrial expertise. An impression of the work of IfM’s Open Innovation Forum is given in this video.

Note: on photo (from left to right) Caroline Bijkerk (Corporate Partnerships Manager, StartLife), Jan Meiling (Managing director, StartLife), Gerrit Smit (Managing Director of Yili Innovation Center Europe) and Matthias D. Eisner (Senior Scientist Product & Process Technology at Yili Innovation Center Europe) in the reception room of Yili Innovation center in the Plus Ultra I building on Wageningen Campus.