Team:CCU Taiwan/Entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurship process of ASFAST

Entrepreneurship is a dynamic process and there are a lot of entrepreneurial models on the internet. They all share how to start a business successfully and how to be an entrepreneur. However, every case is different. These approaches may not be suitable for us. There is no single correct way that will work every time. We would like to share our entrepreneurship process of developing ASFAST.

Four stages of pioneering

It is not as easy as we thought to launch a brand. But by following a well-established track, it would be easier to compose a team and develop a product. Thus we sought to prepare well and focus on planning our business.
The following are four stages of our pioneering process.

To protect the Taiwan pork industry chain and avoid ASF crushing the economy of Taiwan, our original intention was to develop an ASFV detector. To introduce our product to society, we visited some pig farmers to communicate with them. Good management of the upstream industries is essential to prevent an epidemic from outbreaking. As for entrepreneurship, we visited CCU innovation center General Manager OU, who has a lot of experience in marketing and business. He suggested that we should sell a service rather than a device so that we could maximize the profit.

After determining our project, we set the general direction of the product design. We discussed together and gathered everyone’s opinion before completing our prototype design. Furthermore, we have weekly meetings to confirm experimental details and set the plans for the next week to ensure we are on track.

We started by setting up the team organization structure and team rules to clarify everyone's work responsibility after determining our overall design. For products to reach the market, a company needs multi-faceted personnel. That was also our goal. Our team composition includes members from five colleges of the university: the college of sciences, the college of engineering, the college of management, the college of social sciences, and the college of humanities. We maximized the value of knowledge with our different professions and the teamwork division structure. There are two leaders and three departments in our team, and each department has a manager. Due to the age and experience gap between our team members, our structure allows someone who has more experience to lead each department, so it is more efficient. Cross-domain membership makes us more competitive and able to solve problems by looking at more perspectives.

In order to promote effective communication among members, we started a basic introductory course in synthetic biology for team members from different fields. All members are required to participate in this course, whether they are from that background or working on that part of the project or not. This course allowed the team to run on track and reduced misunderstandings between departments.

The brand value of ASFAST

Our original intention was to do our part to protect the pig industry chain in our country. Combining this with product sales and our brand value is not a simple matter, but we strive to retain the original concept of ASFAST. The brand concept of ASFAST is very simple. ASFAST is a convenient, rapid, on-site detector. While developing the instrument, we give it a sacred mission, to enable countries to control the ASF epidemic. We would like to set up a complete ASF control system to protect Taiwan and other countries in need. When anyone mentions ASFAST, they can think of a great brand saving the pig industry and the community.

Product outline

ASFAST is a fast, portable and easy-to-use ASFV detector. ASFAST uses CRISPR-Cas12a to detect the ASF viral DNA. PicoGreen (a green fluorescent dye) is used as a signal indicator. Compared with current products, the value of our product lies in the ability to quickly detect ASF on the spot, during the incubation period. It is convenient and effectively shortens the quarantine time. We would like to cooperate with the government in using a cloud monitoring system to achieve a win-win situation.
Our value proposition:
  1. On-site
  2. Fast
  3. Early detection
  4. Cloud monitoring

Product certification

Since Taiwan does not have regulations for animal disease screening equipment, most biotech companies in Taiwan (Ex. Excelsior Bio-System, GeneReach, etc.) aim for OIE product certification. We are going to apply for certification from OIE after our R&D completed. This will also expand our potential market by providing worldwide certification.

Business model

We would like to sell inspection service rather than the device for the following reasons:

  1. If we sell the device to the pig farmers, they may not report the test results to the government to protect their private interests, causing difficulties in epidemic prevention.
  2. The testing device should be operated by professional personnel, so we would like to cooperate with the government and offer our device to designated veterinarians for detection.
  3. We consulted General Manager OU. He told us that since the instrument has a long service period, it would be better to sell our service rather than the device to maximize our profit.

Implementing service may encounter more difficulties than selling devices, but we firmly believe that it is the best solution for both brand value and our product characteristics. The service we provide can be considered as insurance. We will develop the market in high-risk countries, insuring against what is not happening but is likely to happen.
The following below are the details of our business model:

We offer a regular pig health examination to check whether the pigs are infected by ASF.
Providing examination service can maximize the benefit of our product, and has the advantages of continuing financial resources and stable customers. Regular health examination can enhance the epidemic prevention system. The expected number of samples required is described below:
We use a one-sample test for statistical analysis. This method is suitable for:
  1. Only one set of sample in data will be analyzed.
  2. The sample is categorical data, for instance, “yes or no”, “0 or 1”.
We assume the null hypothesis Ho: p≥0.05, alternate hypothesis H1: p<0.05, 95% confidence level (left-tailed test). (p is infection rate for pigsty, and p can’t be set as 0 due to Bernoulli's principle (0<p<1)) With more than 150 pigs on a farm the chance of infection should approach a Normal distribution (with np>5, n(1-p)>5). If there are no infected samples, we can calculate the Z value from the statistical formulato test the null hypothesis. (is sample's prevalence rate, Po is 0.05, and n is sample size) Assume=0, , Zo<Zcritical=-1.645, so we reject Ho. Hence, this gives a 95% confidence that the proportion of pigs suffering from ASF on the farm is less than 5%.
As for the frequency of testing, we decided to select 1000 pigs per county per month. This is the most feasible way, like the way the government currently tests for drug residues, with the consideration of cost.

When a pig farmer wants to sell a batch of pigs, he needs to submit a health declaration. The procedure is that the owner judges whether the pig has visual symptoms of illness. If there is no problem, he will sign and be responsible for the disease status of the pigs. We would like to add an ASF test in this process and conduct a comprehensive health examination to ensure that pigs infected with ASF would not leave the farm, even during the incubation period.

Projected income statement (monthly)

As we mentioned above, we are going to detect 1,000 pigs every month. We decided to cooperate with 4 vets, and every vet is responsible for 250 pigs. Each vet have 25 ASFAST device for the detection. ASFAST need 30 minutes per test, which means a vet can complete the total 250 detection in 5 hours.

*Net sales: (Service fee per test) × (number of service) = NT$ 2,000×1,000= NT$ 2,000,000
*Cost of goods sold: (Inspection supplies per test) × (number of service) = NT$ 1,087×1000= NT$ 1,087,000

*Salaries and wages expense:
Chief Executive Officer: NT$ 50,000
R&D department: NT$ 130,000
Business department: NT$ 108,000
Commerce department: NT$ 50,000
Administration department: NT$ 60,000
Finance department: NT$ 37,000
Veterinarian: NT$ 40,000
Total: NT$ 47,5000
*Depreciation expense: (device cost) ÷ (service life) =NT$ 10,536 × 100 ÷ 12= NT$ 87,800

*Income tax expense: (income before tax) × (tax rate) = NT$ 350,200 × 20% = NT$ 70,040


After we made some progress on our project, we went to Chung Cheng University Innovation Incubation Center to share our idea with investors from different industries.

Business model analysis (Taiwan)

Before entering a market, we should comprehensively analyze the overall condition of the markets we want to enter. Every market has its own characteristics, such as culture, political, economic, living habits of local people, locations of farms and distance between them, etc., which would affect the development of the project. We should consider the advantages and weaknesses of the project thorough analysis. Next, we explain below how we analyze the Taiwan market.

After communicating with many experts and scholars, we analyzed our local environment through a gradual approach.

The following is a schematic diagram of the process.

STP analysis

  • Geography:

    1. Countries currently infected by ASF are shown in purple.
    2. Countries at a high risk for ASF infection: Taiwan, Thailand

  • Population:
    1. Eating habits: Pork is a common food.
  • Consumer attitudes:
    1. High concern for people’s health.

  • The main market is divided into two areas:
    1. High-risk countries: Detect pigs which are potentially infected with ASF to prevent the spread of an epidemic (if the virus invades) to prevent rapid spread throughout the country.
    2. Countries already infected with ASF: Try to control the epidemic or reduce the epidemic.
  • Market targeting: Government agencies in Taiwan
    1. The scope of this research is mainly Taiwan, because Taiwan is considered a high-risk country, and our team consists of Taiwanese students. It’s more convenient for us to cooperate and negotiate with the local government, and it can also lower the cost of communication and information collection. We are more familiar with the operation of local government. Hence, we determined to initially pitch our product to the high-risk country, Taiwan, as our target market.

  • Feature of product:
  • “Provide a rapid and effective test method for virus DNA detection in pigs.” Detect the infected but not pathogenic pigs immediately, on-site, to reduce the risk of virus spread during transportation.
  • Product differentiation
    1. Currently, Taiwan's detection method for “Animal Class A infectious diseases” requires sampling by government agencies, sending the sample to a lab, and requires a day to get results.
    2. By detecting antibodies to the viral DNA in the blood, the current detection system is only effective several days after infection, not before symptoms occur.

PEST analysis

  • 2018-08-04 China informed OIE that ASF had been detected in the country.
  • 2018-08-09 The Council of Agriculture of Taiwan reported the situation to the Executive Yuan, and the President of the Executive Yuan instructed all ministries to cooperate.
  • 2018-11-01 A working group on ASF defense was set up
  • 2018-12-18 The Council of Agriculture established the Central Emergency Operation Center for ASF. It also raised the penalty for illegal import of meat products to one million NTD.

From this rapid implementation of policies and regulations, we can see that the Taiwan government is very aware of the seriousness of ASF. Taiwan is now a high-risk country for ASF. For a country to remove their name from the list of infected countries, decades are needed to completely eradicate the disease. For example, it took Spain 33 years to eradicate ASF, and Spain has just over 5% of the land area of China. It will take a long time for China to completely recover from the epidemic. Unless China resolves its problem with ASF, which will take a long time, Taiwan will remain a high-risk country. How the government can protect the whole pork industry chain is a serious test for Taiwan.

Twenty-two years ago, Taiwan suffered from foot-and-mouth disease. Pig farmers transported pigs from southern Taiwan to northern Taiwan during the incubation period, causing the foot-and-mouth disease to spread throughout Taiwan via the transportation. This caused up to 200 billion NTD loss. Taiwan will be removed from the foot-and-mouth disease affected area soon. Since it also affects our export qualification, it is also necessary to be equally alert to ASF. We can't withstand a serious disaster again. The government plays a pivotal role here. The government should focus on epidemic prevention and control to protect the long-term development of the pork industry.

On average, Taiwanese consume nearly 40 kilograms of pork per person per year. In traditional food, pork rice, sausages, and pig internal organs are an indispensable part of our culture. But there is a serious risk of crisis as ASF spreads. With the availability of education and attention given to the needs of the elderly, people are paying more attention to the quality of food. Therefore, there are more than 30 food safety certificates in Taiwan. Food that has been tested by an authority is preferred by the public.

The Agricultural Research Council of the Executive Yuan stated that to maintain international exports, they expect to provide more than 1 billion NTD in subsidies in 2019 for epidemic and quarantine control measures for major animal and plant diseases, mainly for ASF prevention and control procedures.
Excelsior Bio-System developed ASFV quarantine reagents to detect ASFV through antibodies.

The seriousness of ASF infection and the current high-risk situation in Taiwan have made us aware of the importance of careful epidemic prevention at this stage. Therefore, our team is committed to the development of portable ASF screening detectors. If ASF unfortunately affects Taiwan, with the aid of our product it can be discovered early, and the epidemic can be controlled effectively and limited to a certain range. This will become the last line of defense against ASF to prevent catastrophic losses.

SWOT analysis (Taiwan Market)

After developing a working product we will continue to improve the system and enhance its functions. We will attempt to combine the three phases of our system, “liquid instillation”, “sequence complementation”, and “green fluorescent protein detection”, into a single phase to reduce cost. We can also allow the product to detect different diseases by replacing the detection sequence in the complementation phase. Not only will we be able to detect and thus control infectious disease more effectively in either humans or animals but we expect the product can be modified for the detection of different substances as needed by various industries.

Invest resources to strengthen the advantages, strive for opportunities, improve the complicated process of traditional inspection, and make the machine simpler so it can be used easily by all relevant units. Maximize usage rate of product to ensure all pigs are certificated in the market.

The strength of the product is its early detection. Current products use a rapid test reagent for antibody detection employing the ASF E2 protein antibody which does not appear until at least four days post-infection; we test for the ASF DNA directly, which can be detected immediately after the pig is infected. That will allow us to isolate pigs which are infected but don’t yet show symptoms.

By enhancing the experimental design to increase the success rate, we will attract the attention of the market. We will continue to develop a multi-purpose device that can test multiple samples simultaneously.

The demand in the Taiwan market is unknown, but we hope to expand to new markets. Our goal is to set up an ASF check system for pigs in cooperation with the government, add ASF check to the food safety certificate, and develop foreign markets in the future.

Porter five forces analysis
Biotech industry (disease detection)

The channels for purchasing instruments are numerous; the main ongoing cost is experimental reagents. The only large cost is the patent fee for the use of CRISPR.

The only customer is the government, so the bargaining power with them is low.

The biotechnology industry has large capital requirements, and the existing technologies are protected by patent rights.

Our technology is different from other testing instruments on the market. Their detection requires more time (more days after infection) even though the price is cheaper.

Product differentiation between each firm is not obvious, and it's hard to withdraw from the market or transfer suppliers.

Export (China)

Currently, there are more than 92 farms, 3 facilities, and 6 villages in China experiencing an outbreak of ASF, including 21 farms and 6 villages in Liaoning Province. Due to the seriousness of the epidemic, Liaoning Province is our best choice for a first export target.

Potential customer - Large Meat Company

Due to agricultural transformation, many small-holder farmers tend to cooperate under contract with large meat companies to ensure they have stable customers. On the other side, large meat companies want stable sources of pork. Thus, it’s like labor relations. Hundreds of pigs are fed by small-holder farmers scattered throughout the country, which means they are not gathered in one place. Therefore, large meat companies have no way to assess the situation of each pig farm effectively. And because of the vast territory in China, the cost of transportation between farms could be high. Hence, we believe that ASFAST and its cloud monitoring system can help these large meat companies to assess the situation on pig farms immediately via the Internet.


A good product is a basic requirement for marketing, but if you have no marketing channels, and you don’t have a large geographical web of personal relationships, your product will not be seen in the market. Therefore, we will design a series of marketing plans to open up China's market channels.
  • Set up an official website
    When it comes to the basic showcasing of a company, in addition to the physical company address, its official website is also important. Thus, we will strengthen SEO optimization to improve our website rankings in keyword searches.
  • Social media
    The management of social media can bring customers closer to you: For example, regularly sharing essays in the professional field through social media can give customers a stronger sense of trust. Social media such as Weibo and WeChat are all platforms with high coverage.
    1. Features of Weibo: Its in-depth coverage is suitable for complex or high-priced products that require detailed introduction, allowing customers to gain insight into the brand.
    2. Features of WeChat: It’s suitable for customers who have "pre-purchased", to launch new offers, or provide information. It’s also suitable for media companies, creating customers with a high degree of dependency to the brand.

In our era there has been an information explosion. People are learning to transform a boring bio-mechanical brand into something that makes people’s eyes widen at the sight, so they are interested in further understanding, bring the brand into the fashion, combine high-tech elements, let customers be surprised at your brand when scrolling on Facebook so it stands out among other media information, and then create a CTR conversion rate, to click on the link to watch or buy.

Business partner

Yuan Long Agricultural Cooperatives
Provided us with a code of practice for the company and the issues that should be addressed and faced when selling a product.

      The future plans of ASFAST are mainly divided into four directions, described below:
  1. Joining the CCU incubator: The ASFAST team will enter the Chung Cheng University Innovation Incubation Center next semester. In the incubator, we will get more resources so we can continue to develop and communicate with other outstanding new teams.
  2. Applying for a patent: After product development is completed, we expect to apply for a new patent in Taiwan, then apply for a patent in other target countries (Ex. China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, etc.).
  3. Consulting with the government: We will continue to negotiate with the government to discuss the best possible detection system.
  4. Export: We hope to bring our products to the world. At present, we intend to start with China and carry out the project described above. We will continue to figure out how to expand into overseas markets in the future.

  1. David R. Anderson,(2014). Statistics for Business and Economics (Annotated Edition). Cengage Learning