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Startup Story: Advocating for Sustainable Agriculture

From an urban dweller to an activist – and now an “agripreneur” (Agricultural Entrepreneur), Kelly Ann, the founder of Farmcity and participant of our Alibaba Cloud-SUSS Entrepreneurship Programme, recounts her journey to establishing her very own social enterprise to champion sustainable agriculture.

Kelly Ann, Founder of Farmcity

Kelly Ann, Founder of Farmcity.

It started with one fruitful holiday trip to Mauritius, a country in East Africa, where a food crisis ensued. Her husband, who is also the co-founder of Farmcity, fell ill during their trip and she observed the lack of nutritious food options in Mauritius to nurse her husband back to health.

Inspired by her trip, Kelly was determined to establish Farmcity, a social enterprise that focuses on sustainable agriculture to feed people in Mauritius, but also empower locals with the technique to grow their own produce. Local farmers in Mauritius were initially reluctant as urban farming was a new concept, thus Kelly and her husband expended extra effort to guide farmers through the new technology that would significantly improve their livelihoods.

Loved ones had a tough time accepting Kelly’s ambition to become a farmer in Mauritius, considering her Master’s degree and stable corporate job with promising prospects. Nevertheless, Kelly was determined to make a social impact, even if it means giving up her full-time job and starting afresh.

When friends and family saw how hard she had worked for the farm, they were moved by her perseverance and passion in the agriculture industry. Loved ones became supportive of Kelly’s decision after seeing Farmcity’s achievements over the years. With Kelly’s leadership skills and the guidance through the SUSS Venture Builder Programme, Farmcity has since expanded into the Singapore market. During the programme, Kelly encountered like-minded entrepreneurs to collaborate and exchange ideas. With numerous hands-on workshops and consistent mentorship throughout the programme, Kelly was set up for success.

Looking ahead, Kelly has plans to provide employment opportunities for persons with disabilities as there are no-holds barred when it comes to making a social impact on the community.

Kelly’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “Be comfortable with the unknown as things might not always go according to plan. Entrepreneurship requires hard work, courage and grit, but it is ultimately a fulfilling journey.” 

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