Dr. Vanessa Teo and Agrome IQ, the agritech startup she conceptualised while completing her PhD in Agricultural Modelling with IBM and Universiti Brunei Darussalam, and developed shortly after, are no strangers to the limelight. Five years into the journey of making the difficult look simple through tech-based solutions to update and improve on the agriculture industry, the 32-year old Dr. Teo and Agrome IQ are peerless in Brunei.
Agrome IQ has grabbed national headlines a number of times since over the last three years for an impressive array of accolades –
- In February 2017, after proving to be one of Darussalam Enterprise’s (DARe) Startup Bootcamp’s brightest stars with the development of The Farm IQ, a farm systems application enabling small-scale farmers to use data analytics to improve their output
- July 2017 after launching the Sprout IQ farm program, an urban farming educational platform and workshop series that gives school children and novice farmers a start in small-scale farming and the processes involved.
- Nov 2017, sweeping the top spots for both Startup of the Year and Founder of the Year during the Brunei Rice Bowl Startups Awards
- April 2018, being selected as the Brunei representative and placing top 5 among 53 countries at the Pitch@Palace Commonwealth in Buckingham Palace, where entrepreneurs from the 53 Commonwealth countries pitch to compete for investment.
- Early 2019, becoming the first company to be endorsed by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism to conduct training for the national farming certification, the Brunei Good Agricultural Practice (GAP).
- June 2019, signing a memorandum of understanding with national agencies from Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), titled Digitalisation of Smallholder Farms, enabling Agrome to consult with local partners in all four participating countries
- And most recently in April 2020, when Dr. Teo launched com, an online market place for local farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It’s a no brainer that Progresif have long been big fans of Dr Teo and the work she has been doing with Agrome IQ. After all, her vision, drive and ethic aligns so well with our brand’s commitment to giving back to the communities we serve through our four-pillar Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that where Entrepreneurship, Education and Environment 3/4 pillars) are concerned, Agrome IQ is the model example for social enterprises everywhere. So, as is always the case when Progresif decides to back a noble cause, the first question we asked was, “how can we help?”
The answer, it turned out, was by providing some innovative Internet of Things (IoT) ‘Smart Agriculture’ technology that could be integrated into the Agrome IQ platform so that farmers could monitor their crop health without being on the farm.
Who would have thought it? A tech company providing a tech solutions…
When our Enterprise Team (the arm of Progresif that provides the solutions to Brunei businesses) found out about the project they sprang into life like olympic sprinters out of the starting blocks. Their solution? A Libelium Smart Agriculture IoT kit that monitors air quality, water pH, soil pH, temperature, rainfall, pressure and solar radiation, put into practice through a pilot program in order to assess whether this is a practical solution to an age old problem: how to ensure crops grow well without having to stay and watch the process 24/7.