Unlocking economic opportunities for smallholder farmers

Digital ASEAN Program

Unlocking economic opportunities
for smallholder farmers

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Agriculture is one of the key GDP drivers in ASEAN, and smallholder farmers contribute to a large proportion of the agricultural activity and production in the region.

However, smallholder farmers are often poorly integrated into value chains and lack access to formal goods and services, such as financial services.

To improve their livelihoods and integrate them into the formal economy, it is critical for these smallholders to better utilise finite land and achieve greater economic productivity.

Digital technologies hold the key to smallholder productivity and can provide them with the right tools to lift themselves out of poverty. With digital tools, farmers can increase their agricultural output and – together with other actors in the value chain – can become financially included and soon prosper as middle-income families.

Through the Digital ASEAN Program, we’re looking for innovative startups with ground-breaking solutions that can help smallholders across the region do just that! If you’ve got a solution that can help unlock new economic opportunities for them, we want to help you do it! The Program will feature a host of learning and mentoring opportunities, as well as access to farmer cohorts to run trials of your solution!

startups that got shortlisted into Cohort One! 

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About our Partners

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) is one of the world’s leading financial groups. Headquartered in Tokyo, the global MUFG network includes 1,800+ locations in more than 50 countries, and provides commercial banking, trust banking, securities trading services, credit cards, consumer banking and finance, asset management, and leasing. 

Established by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat, Grow Asia brings together companies, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders to help smallholder farmers improve their production and livelihood through access to information, knowledge, markets and finance.

In collaboration with customers and partners, Yara grows knowledge to responsibly feed the world and protect the planet, to fulfill its vision of a collaborative society, a world without hunger and a planet respected.

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Challenge Statements

We are seeking startups that leverage digital technologies to integrate smallholders into the food value chain or to provide them with access to formal financial services. Your startup should solve at least one of the following:


Smallholders tend to operate in the informal financial sector. How could digital tools help integrate smallholder farmers into the formal financial sector, for example, through the provision of credit, insurance, or better Know Your Customer (KYC) processes?


Smallholders are not producing enough
to improve their livelihoods. How can smallholders improve their agriculture productivity using digital solutions delivered via mobile?


Technology can unlock opportunities.
How could leveraging data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) create and multiply value
for smallholders?

Program Timeline

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We’ll provide a travel and accommodation allowance for overseas startup teams, when they have to fly to Singapore.

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Why You Should Join

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Great Exposure!

Win an opportunity to be showcased
at the Singapore Fintech Festival Innovation Lab Crawl in November!

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Learning Opportunities

Learn from our experts and your peers
in the industry through technical and commercial bootcamps.

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Mentoring & Support

Get mentorship and support
from our Program Partners and
supporting organisations.

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AWS Support

Win USD10000 in AWS
Promotional Credit and up to USD5,000 in
AWS Business Support!

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Access to a User Base

Get access to a large cohort of farmers to
run trials of your solution, and uncover
new business opportunities!


We’re looking to make this a worthwhile experience for each participating startup.
Through the Digital ASEAN Program, you can gain value of up to USD70,000!

Application Requirements

To apply to the Digital ASEAN Program, your startup should ideally:

  • Be a registered business between Seed and Series A stages of funding;

  • Have achieved some traction with a ground-breaking product;

  • Address at least one of the challenge statements highlighted above;

  • Have or create a solution that is applicable to the ASEAN context (Note: Your startup need not be based in an ASEAN country);

  • Be working in the AgriTech and / or FinTech space, or with emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), etc.

Above all, we’re looking for strong, motivated startups that wish to help empower smallholder farmers across ASEAN with their solution.

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Contact Us

We’d love to hear from you!

If you have any questions, please write to divakar@padang.co.