UCL Faculty of Life Sciences


UCL Life Sciences students empower rice farmers in Southeast Asia and win $1 million prize

Two Life Sciences students have won the prestigious Hult Prize for their innovative social enterprise, Rice Inc, providing rice farmers with access to new technology.

Rice Inc. and entrepreneurship

23 April 2021

Rice Inc is empowering farmers and helping to change the way food is produced in South-east Asia. The business was set up by Kisum Chan and Lincoln Lee (Biomedical Sciences), along with two of their friends.

Hundreds of millions of tonnes of rice goes to waste each year in Asia because many farmers can’t afford the drying technology needed to reduce rice wastage. Part-way through their studies at UCL, Kisum and Lincoln came up with the idea for a social business that provides access to this technology.

Rice Inc builds hi-tech eco-dryers on farmers’ land, enabling farmers to dry their rice for a fee. Increasing the value of the harvests, farmers are able to nearly double their income by recovering rice that would otherwise be lost. 

The Rice Inc team beat 200,000 other ideas to win a chance to pitch at the Hult Prize global finals. To ready them for the competition, UCL Innovation & Enterprise provided mentorship, financial assistance and advice on pitching and business skills.

The $1 million funding has allowed them to expand beyond their pilot schemes in Malaysia and Myanmar. Their eventual goal is to end food poverty in Southeast Asia.

Rice Inc CEO Lincoln Lee said: “The very people growing rice are the ones left behind by the industry and society. We wanted to change that and, thanks to the support we received from UCL, we were able to develop an idea that could transform society in Southeast Asia.”

Read more
Read the full story on the Innovation & Enterprise website

Other links
Rice Inc
Hult Prize at UCL

UCL Business Society
Entrepreneurship support for UCL students and recent graduates