Thai Union joins hands with National Innovation Agency, Mahidol University and WeWork Labs to fuel innovation in Thailand’s Food Industry

  • Focusing on the food industry that’s ripe for disruption, SPACE-F is powering the future of food through a new innovation model that expedites FoodTech startups
  • Applications to the SPACE-F incubator and accelerator programs, open to Thai nationals and foreign companies respectively, to close 31 July 2019
  • Further strengthening the local ecosystem, this partnership is a testament to Thailand’s growing potential on the global stage for the food industry

Caption: SPACE-F is the first global FoodTech startup incubator and accelerator in Thailand

– Thai Union Group PCL today announced its partnership with National Innovation Agency (NIA), Mahidol University’s Science Faculty and WeWork Labs for the SPACE-F program that aims to build a sustainable ecosystem to nurture FoodTech startups in Thailand.

SPACE-F is the first global FoodTech startup incubator and accelerator in Thailand and will provide innovative services and support to empower the next generation of innovation in FoodTech. There are two tracks to the program: Incubator track for initial stage startups; and Accelerator track for growth-stage startups (Thai and non-Thai nationals), and it is accepting applications from now until 31 July 2019.

Caption: Thai Union Group PCL. National Innovation Agency (NIA), Mahidol University’s Science Faculty and WeWork Labs announced the partnership for the SPACE-F program.

Eligible applicant startups must innovate in one of the following areas: health and wellness; alternative proteins; smart manufacturing; packaging solution; novel food and ingredients; biomaterial and chemical; restaurant tech; food safety and quality; smart food services. The SPACE-F program’s non-equity model allows founders to have full ownership of their ideas and products and at the end of the program (up to 15 months for Incubator and three to eight months for Accelerator), founders will have opportunities to meet qualified investors including Thai Union Group PCL. and other VCs and CVCs. With the introduction of WeWork Labs, participants of the program will also be provided with unique expertise and guidance from local and global mentors.

“As we aim to create greater platforms for nurturing deep tech startups in the food industry, we are delighted to partner with WeWork and leverage its Food Labs platforms to further accelerate startups to grow beyond Thailand seamlessly. Together with our strength in innovation, this will help foster new initiatives leading to a better quality of life, improved global food security and innovative job creation, as well as showcasing Thailand's ability to compete on the global stage,” said Dr. Pun-Arj Chairatana, Executive Director of the National Innovation Agency (NIA).

“As we look at how innovation in the food industry will help us raise the competitiveness of Thailand's food industry to international standards, the partnership will open new avenues for startups to prove their ideas. As we seek to boost Thailand on the global stage, we look forward to welcoming a new wave of FoodTech startups looking to disrupt the industry,” said Dr. Tunyawat Kasemsuwan, Group Director, Global Innovation at Thai Union.

SPACE-F will be located at Mahidol University’s Faculty of Science and provides downtown lab access to high-tech machinery and instrumentation that will facilitate the research and development of great ideas. Expanding to other countries is made easy with access to WeWork Labs’ workspaces in 60 locations worldwide, the support of Thai Union Global connections, as well as the NIA program of promoting startups abroad.

“By pooling our resources and faculty comprising the nation's best minds in the field, we are committed to nurturing tomorrow’s leaders in this field by broadening their vision. We firmly believe that it is important to foster a vibrant ecosystem that can enable startups to grow and flourish, and we look forward to positively impacting the local landscape,” said Dr. Kanyaratt Supaibulwatana, Vice Dean, Faculty of Sciences, Mahidol University.

“By providing value beyond space, we will be mentoring startups in SPACE-F, helping them with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, and leveraging our global expertise to support them through the program,” said Adrian Tan, Head of Labs, Southeast Asia for WeWork. “The time is ripe for FoodTech advancements, and along with the perfect partners for this program, we are very excited to select Thailand as the first stop to launch our partnered Food Labs program and help bring to life some of today’s brightest ideas right here in Thailand.”

WeWork Labs is WeWork's innovation platform that supports early-stage startups and corporations, and it has recently debuted its Food Labs program, which is the company’s first innovation space dedicated to powering the future of food and aims to support growing startups by bringing together entrepreneurs, industry experts and investors to build an innovative community to address the biggest challenges facing the global food industry. In Thailand, WeWork Labs partners with the National Innovation Agency, Thai Union Group PCL. and Mahidol University to form part of SPACE-F's unique cooperation – comprising government, private, and university partners – that supports the local ecosystem by enabling greater accessibility of resources for both ideas and startups to grow.

With its affordable cost of living and appealing way of life, Thailand is a hub of local and international startups, and is home to numerous food manufacturers and suppliers – an attractive landscape for food innovation. To drive innovation and economic growth within the kingdom, startups in the SPACE-F program can also apply for the SMART Visa program from the Thai government which provides numerous privileges to help attract skilled manpower.


For details on eligibility and applications, go to

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About Thai Union Group PCL.

Thai Union Group PCL is the world’s seafood leader bringing high quality, healthy, tasty and innovative seafood products to customers across the world for more than 40 years. 

Today, Thai Union is regarded as the world’s largest producer of shelf-stable tuna products with annual sales exceeding THB 133.3 billion (US$ 4.1 billion) and a global workforce of over 47,000 people who are dedicated to pioneering sustainable, innovative seafood products. 

The company’s global brand portfolio includes market-leading international brands such as Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire, Parmentier, Mareblu, King Oscar, and Rügen Fisch and Thai-leading brands SEALECT, Fisho, Qfresh, Monori, Bellotta and Marvo.

As a company committed to innovation and globally responsible behavior, Thai Union is proud to be a member of the United Nations Global Compact, and a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). In 2015, Thai Union introduced its SeaChange® sustainability strategy. Find out more at Thai Union’s on-going work on sustainability issues was recognized in 2018 by being ranked number one in the world in the Food Products Industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, achieving a 100th percentile ranking for total sustainability score. Thai Union has now been named to the DJSI for five consecutive years. Thai Union was also named to the FTSE4Good Emerging Index for the third straight year in 2018.

About National Innovation Agency

National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) or “NIA” under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation of Thailand, is the operational core organization to enhance Thailand innovation system. NIA acts as the key system integrator that facilitates and drives the whole national innovation system in 5 aspects both locally and internationally. This includes innovation policy, innovation capabilities, innovation ecosystem, innovation project, and recognition on innovation Thailand. Startup has become one of NIA’s target group due to its potential to harness innovation and to drive Thailand’s economic growth. Accordingly, NIA provides comprehensive supports for startup development in Thailand including seed grants, business consultancy, SMART VISA, and market exposure. NIA also launched “Startup Thailand Centre” to be a one-stop-service for both local and international startups, who want to set up their businesses in Thailand. NIA also hosts Thailand’s biggest startup event, “Startup Thailand” with more than 60,000 visitors in 2018 event, to promote the international partnership and development of startup ecosystem in Thailand.   

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About Mahidol University

Mahidol University has established its international collaborations that support the collaborative activities with various universities and institutes around the world. The university recently maintains the Memorandum of Understandings (MOA) and Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) signed with 434 outstanding universities/institutes coming from 46 respective countries in terms of research and education collaboration frameworks. For examples, the collaboration established with Tokyo University, Osaka University and Chiba University as active collaborators from Japan.

For a curriculum development, Mahidol University has also developed the 18 joint curriculums with international institutes, divided into 14 Double Degree and 4 Joint Degree Programs.

The scope of collaboration is outstandingly formed in terms of joint research, technology transfer, expertist & staff exchanges, joint supervision, sharing of financial supports, these activities help to strengthen up the motivation of network and encourage institutions to create innovation. The strong collaborative networks of Mahidol University with many institutions can empower both of research and academic operation in various scientific areas such as Data Analysis, Biological & Physical sciences, Biomedical, and Preclinical sciences, etc. These will help to enhance the mutual research advantages and provide professional advices to new innovators.

About WeWork

WeWork is a platform for creators, providing more than 466,000 members around the world with space, community, and services through both physical and virtual offerings. Its mission is to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living. WeWork currently has 485 physical locations in over 105 cities and 28 countries around the world.

Founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in New York, the company now employs more than 11,000 globally. WeWork seeks ‘creators’ from all industries and companies big and small to become members, with a suite of WeWork-specific membership benefits in each country and a local staff in each city.

WeWork Labs

WeWork Labs gathers promising early-stage startups and provides them with the space, community and programming to help them succeed. We partner with local incubators, accelerators and large corporates to provide holistic, long-term support for startups throughout their journey at WeWork Labs. We believe in humanizing the startup process, encouraging inclusivity and diversity, and connecting people to one another. WeWork Labs is a global innovation platform for startups, with over 60 spaces around the world. Visit to learn more.

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Sharlene Lee

M: (852) 5126 1376

Lead, Public Affairs, Southeast Asia


Thai Union Group PCL. media contacts

Wiriyaporn Posayanonda

Head of External Communications

Mobile: (66) 81 922 5135



NIA media contact

Asaya Siriaotharn (Gib)

Innovation Counsellor Manager

Office: (66) 2 017 5555 ext. 603

Mobile: (66) 81 487 5635