Brinc & Good Food Institute launch a Food Startup Manual

This extensive guide lays out the steps involved in starting a plant-based or clean meat company in Asia — from securing funding and developing your product to staffing up and expanding distribution.

In collaboration with  The Good Food Institute  (GFI), we are delighted to release the first international edition of The Good Food Startup Manual. The manual is a 100+ page step-by-step instruction manual for entrepreneurs who want to set up their own plant-based or cell-based protein startups. Elaine Siu, Managing Director of APAC at GFI, and I officially made the announcement at  VeggieWorld Hong Kong  in March.

Last year GFI launched their manual in the US and decided to roll out international editions to inspire more entrepreneurs to start businesses in the alternative protein space around the world. It’s perfect for any startup that’s looking to be the next  ImpossibleBeyond Meat, or  Memphis Meat. After  launching Asia’s first accelerator program dedicated to investing in food technology startups, GFI reached out to us to collaborate on creating their manual. The Hong Kong Edition is the first international edition to be released.

Topics covered within the manual include:

  • Company Creation in Hong Kong — resources to facilitate setting up your company including checklists of company registration, incorporation, etc; depending on your business needs.
  • Tax and Compliance Obligation — learn about Hong Kong’s taxation (including startup support policies) and ongoing compliance obligations to make sure your company fulfils all financial and legal requirements.
  • Funding Mechanisms and Accelerators — understand different types of funding with unique benefits and drawbacks before making your decision based on the food capital lifecycle. For early-stage startups, you can consider some of the amazing food accelerator programs around the world or in your geographical region.
  • How to Identify Potential Investors — a summary of different types of Venture Capitalists investing in plant-based and clean meat companies with a focus on investors deploying capital in Hong Kong and Asia.
  • Manufacturing — learn the process of food manufacturing with information on 20+ food ingredients associations, major commercial kitchens and pilot plants in Hong Kong that you can work with.
  • Product Testing and Quality Assurance (QA) — essential information on conducting a variety of in-house and outsourced tests to ensure correct product safety and quality assurance. Around 20 Hong Kong Consulting companies/ organisations and major food QA services companies are listed for your reference.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) — learn tips and trade secrets in Hong Kong that will protect your IP: patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc. Food businesses are patentable.
  • Food Relevant Regulations and Traceability — learn about basic food law & core principles to put in place to ensure your product/s adhere to the highest standard of compliance in Hong Kong.
  • Sales Channels and Promotions — access to practical information on 100 local distributors, re-distributors, wholesalers, import/export companies, retailers and trade-shows.

“The Good Food Startup Manual recently won an honorable mention in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards. We are really excited to be rolling out international editions of the Manual to inspire and support the creation of plant-based and cell-based food startups around the world. The first of our international rollout is the Hong Kong edition, co-created with Brinc who brings in invaluable local insights. Born and bred in Hong Kong myself, I am particularly excited about this edition and looking forward to working with more good food startups from my home city!”- Elaine Siu, Managing Director of APAC, The Good Food Institute.

You will hear from world leading food industry innovators & pioneers including Josh from JUST, David from Green Monday, Carrie from Avant Meats, Elaine from GFI, Dalal from Brinc:

Global food sustainability issues are real and aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Governments are aware of these problems and are beginning to shift policies to make impactful changes to our food supply chain. China has set a lofty guideline to cut meat consumption by 50% before 2030. We believe that through the introduction of the Food Technology accelerator and resources such as the Food Startup Manual, we will help entrepreneurs make significant changes to our global food supply.

At Brinc our aim is to remove animal agriculture from the food system by developing Hong Kong & Asia’s alternate protein ecosystem. Delicious, high-quality, affordable food options that don’t require animal ingredients will transform the world and we are excited to continue Brinc’s philosophy of making a lasting impact on the environment and ourselves. There are millions of hungry mouths in the Asian market — consumers that are ready for high quality, healthy, and affordable alternatives with the same delicious tastes!

Here’s my foreword from the manual:

Building a business isn’t easy. It’s definitely not for everyone.

I’ve started many businesses in my career — the amount of mistakes I’ve made could cover this entire manual from top to bottom. Some have worked and many have not, leaving me with a lifetime of experiences. Experiences that have led to the formation of Brinc through which the learnings are now compounded from the 1000s of startups we’ve reviewed, 100s of founders we’ve worked with across the various arms of the company and over 60 investments that have been made in the last few years.

One of the core learnings has been the importance of recognising one’s blind spots and deciding to do something about that by picking up a book, a manual such as this or asking a mentor / partner to guide you in the right way. Too many entrepreneurs use trial and error to get to an outcome — after all we all believe we know better and our way must be right (until it’s not) but only end up wasting a tremendous amount of time in the process. The smarter ones spend time recognising what they don’t know (aka seeing where their blind spots are) and asking for help. We’ve tried our best through the following 100 or so pages to build a wealth of resources, guidelines, best practices for you to read through in the development and launch of your food businesses. It shouldn’t take you more than an afternoon or evening to read through the entire manual — faster if you skim 🙂 but I believe a lot of the learnings shared can help you save a lot of time and truly accelerate your ability to bring your products to market in a sustainable way.

Brinc’s inception was predicated on the promise that we all have the potential to make the world a better place and by providing the tools to the new game changers like yourselves we would be able to move the needle forward everyday across a wide array of problem sets. Building a better food system in this case isn’t easy and it’s not something that will be done by any of you alone — it will require the efforts of an entire generation, many governments, billions of consumers etc. to all get behind the concept of healthier, sustainably produced and cruelty free food — you will be in the driving seat of that change.

By enabling the creation of a wide array of plant based products, clean meats, protein alternates, etc. we will all be able to transform this industry together. We will move from thinking about individualism and move towards speciesism where we all learn to live & work together. Humans have been given the gift of dominance on the planet and with that comes responsibility. Our rise to the top of the responsibility chain wasn’t because we had the smartest brains, the opposable thumb or the ability to reason or think better or faster than all of our fellow species. It was simply because of the fact that we were able to work together better & faster than any other species on the planet. The bees & ants & chimps (almost all other species) have shown that they could coordinate logically and work together, but whenever it came time to make tough decisions, no matter what, they struggled to stay agile and unlearn what they knew and go against their nature/animal instincts. Where as us as Humans (most of us that is) can learn, unlearn and continue to find human ways in a collective nature to forward our race when we are faced with any challenges.

Now with you is the power to take your collective learnings and work to develop a better food system — one that sits on the convergence of science and technology and will profoundly change the way we eat. We are going to have to learn to learn, learn to unlearn and relearn and reimagine the possibilities with a clear world order — with equality for humans and all species, with usage of our scarce planet & abundant resources, etc.

So yes building a business isn’t easy & it isn’t for everyone but imagine what you could achieve if you launched one successfully? Imagine the change & impact you could make on the world and to your life. We’re excited to see what you come up with & support the journey the best we can. It’s bound to be a fun ride!

Lunch event showcasing various ecosystem enablers you can learn more about in the Food Startup Manual

I’d like to give a big thank you to the entire team at GFI & Brinc that has been working around the clock to get this done over the last 6 months. We could not have asked for a better team or better partners in this journey and are excited to continue to update this manual in a periodic manner as this ecosystem grows. If you’re keen to contribute or are a service provider / partner (and we missed you) who can help founders please reach out and we will get you added to the manual. Drop us a note:

GFI: The Good Food Institute is a U.S.-based nonprofit that promotes plant-based meat, dairy, and eggs as well as clean meat, as alternatives to the products of conventional animal agriculture. GFI targets scientists, policymakers, and entrepreneurs to promote plant-based products and cellular agriculture.

Brinc: As a global venture accelerator we invest in companies working to solve the world’s largest problems. We’ve made 79 investments across our 7 global programs. Earlier this year we completed our  first Food Technology accelerator program  where we invested in four FoodTech startups. We’re only just getting started. In a few weeks you will hear of our new batch where we will be investing in 8 new startups that are making ground breaking changes in the Food Technology industry. Stay tuned for the upcoming announcement. If you’re interested in learning more about our Food Tech program, please visit:

Applications are open for our Fall 2019 Food Technology Accelerator Program. Learn more:

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