• Sodexo

A bowl for a bowl. UCL students’ rice now available in the Refectory

In January this year, Sodexo partnered with Rice Inc, a social startup founded by UCL students. Their rice is now featured within the Refectory food offers.

Rice Inc is a social enterprise, founded by Kisum Chan and Lincoln Lee who both studied at UCL. Their company offers high quality rice with the benefit of an impressive social responsibility impact on the life of farmers and the environment.

Rice Inc works with South East Asian rice farmers to reduce their losses and increase their income. They source quality rice from vulnerable farming communities and re-invest the profits to help the farmers access modern sustainable aggrotech enabling them to improve their current wasteful practices. Between the losses they recover and the profits reinvested, they nearly double farmers’ take home income whilst additionally recovering up to 30% of rice loss, ensuring more food for our future and less GHG emissions from wasted rice.

“A bowl of rice is saved from being wasted for every bowl sold”. This thought-provoking statement describes the real motivation for Lincoln and Kisum in founding Rice Inc.

In December 2017, along with two other UCL students, Kisum and Lincoln took part in the UCL campus round of the Hult Prize. The Hult Prize challenge was to build a sustainable, scalable social enterprise that harnesses the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people.

The Rice Inc team beat 200,000 other ideas to pitch at the Hult Prize global finals and win the $1 million prize, presented by President Bill Clinton at the UN.

Rice Inc are currently based in the Hatchery, a dedicated startup space within BaseKX, UCL’s entrepreneurship hub in King’s Cross. There they have access to free office space, event space and entrepreneurship advice to further develop their company.

In September 2019, Neil Whittle, Sodexo Contract Director at UCL, has been introduced to Kisum and Lincoln, by Ian Wright, Soft Services Manager in UCL Estates and Jonathan Grinbaud, Business Adviser in the Global innovation team within UCL Innovation & Enterprise.

In January 2020, Rice Inc has successfully had their product listed with a Sodexo nominated supply partner to be able to service UCL.

Neil Whittle said: ‘‘When we first met Lincoln and Kisum and discovered the social and environmental impact of Rice Inc, we did not hesitate to start the process to be able to buy their rice and offer it to our customers at UCL.’’

Rice supplied by Rice Inc is now available in the Refectory in Wilkins Building on the Spice counter.

Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice-Provost (Enterprise) said: “I’m delighted that Rice Inc are partnering with Sodexo, influencing the food we eat at UCL. They’re a fantastic example of how the UCL community are solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges and making a real impact in society”.

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