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ASA/WISHH’s Virtual Technical Assistance Reaches Asian Soyfoods Entrepreneurs

ASA/WISHH kicked off 2021 with four days of virtual technical assistance consultations for Asian soyfoods entrepreneurs who reported the training helped them gain valuable information on extrusion and more to expand their businesses. WISHH executed the virtual trainings as part of its United Soybean Board-funded “Mobilizing Entrepreneurs to Expand U.S. Soy Utilization in Developing and Emerging Markets” initiative.  

In addition to WISHH’s own staff, two globally recognized experts led the trainings for the four companies from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Texas A&M Professor Mian Riaz, Ph.D., and Suresh Itapu, Ph.D., worked alongside WISHH to develop the customized training weeks in advance.

WISHH selected the four companies in 2019 through a competitive process that assessed company leadership, commitment to using soy proteins, and access to capital among the other criteria.  In December, each participating company provided WISHH with the topics they wanted covered during the technical visits then Itapu and Riaz created content tailored for each. 

The virtual sessions lasted from two to four hours and were scheduled over the course of the week. They covered a wide range of topics, including soymilk and tofu production, food safety, product shelf life, new trends in soy foods, product formulation, processing technologies, and how to use soy in baked products.

WISHH has followed-up with each company and will continue to support them as they write and implement their business plans. 

Company feedback is very positive.  One entrepreneur wrote “The meetings were really interesting and informative. I feel it has given us enough knowledge to explore the extrusion world and has also made us a lot more curious about future business expansion opportunities.” 

There is no simple one-size-fits-all solution to overcome obstacles to supply chains in developing and emerging markets. Based on 20 years of experience, WISHH designed its USB-funded initiative to take on these challenges in Africa, Asia, and Latin and Central America. The Mobilizing Entrepreneurs to Expand U.S. Soy Utilization in Developing and Emerging Markets initiative works to compress the time for a new U.S. soybean market to go from emerging market entry to basic market ready. The initiative attracts and mentors entrepreneurs who can invest in developing and emerging market soy enterprises, bringing new market sectors into the U.S. soy market pipeline.

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