Letter to the Twin Cities Startup Community by Justin Kershaw, CIO, on behalf of Cargill
As an employee of Cargill, I’m incredibly proud of what we have seen as the 2019 Twin Cities Startup Week comes to a conclusion. For us, innovation is a conversation that’s deeply rooted in our purpose: to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. We’re investing in innovation in all its forms, whether digital or physical, which we believe better position us to focus and strive to fulfill that purpose. And we have seen and engaged with an impressive set of startups over the past week.
For a 154 year-old company like Cargill, we think disruption is a good thing — it forces us to consider not only how we will change Cargill, but how we can help change entire industries and explore opportunities to collaborate with others, whether they’re partners, startups, customers, even competitors.
Consider the food that you’ve eaten so far today. It made its way here through a large, complex supply chain, and the ability of this supply chain to move everything from raw agricultural products, to packaged goods — all the while keeping it safe — is remarkable. At the same time, like any other critical infrastructure, it needs continued modernization and innovation.
Today, there’s enough food to nourish people around the world, yet we haven’t eliminated hunger. Our global population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. We must find ways to feed this growing population without putting additional burdens on the Earth.
Innovation, technology and data are powerful tools to accomplish this, and the approach we take matters greatly. We are focused on investments that make supply chains more inclusive, creating new markets for farmers and developing economies.
Imagine an end-state where all decisions are data-driven, by every player on the supply chain. Thanks to cloud computing, small businesses can take advantage of the same computing power that big businesses use. Technology gives every player a true competitive advantage in the global economy, but technology cannot be for the sake of technology.
Being a Twin Cities Startup Week sponsor complements our investment in the Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator, as well as our partnerships and engagements in the food and ag space, both locally and worldwide. Startups and breakthrough thinkers help us see the problems and markets differently than we do, and they bring the passion and hustle to apply emerging technology to make a difference — to help solve very real business problems, or help a farmer prosper, or improve sustainability.
To the startups that engaged this past week in TCSW: Your presence and ideas help us to think differently about how we will evolve Cargill, how we can help change entire industries, and how we can collaborate with others worldwide. On behalf of Cargill, thank you for your inspiration — and your disruption.