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Japan’s entrepreneurs and burgeoning startup scene

By Jan Onghanseng
-    Nov 08, 2016
Credit : GMI Post

For more than t two decades, Japan’s economy has shown slow growth and deep uncertainty among the corporate sector, most notably in the technological sector that still defines Japanese expertise. To revive the stagnancy in the economy, the government shifted its focus towards small businesses and young entrepreneurs.

With this new policy shift, Quantum Leaps CEO and Founder Nobuyuki Idei acts as a mentor to young (and old) companies, shares his experiences and entrepreneurial ideas to

With Quantum Leaps Founder & CEO Nobuyuki Idei

assist them in their growth and transformation. He also extends his voice and asks large corporations to be so-called angels, urging them to embrace change and the new energy of new, small companies.

“The strength and beauty of Japan is stability. But stability is also our weakness. The credibility of Japan in high quality and advanced technology is already there. Now we have to look to the future and create innovation and diversity through the youth instead of being reliant on big corporations alone,” Idei said.

Recognizing opportunities to improve usual experiences has been the mark of successful entrepreneurs. Japanese companies like MRT, OPTiM and FFRI appear to be kindred spirits as they created patently unique technologies geared towards different industries.

With MRT President Toshimasa Baba

Operating in healthcare, MRT connects doctors, medical institutions and patients through their ‘matching service.’ MRT’s story started after it saw a shortage of doctors in medical offices and untreated patients resulting from closed offices. By creating ‘convenience clinics’ and its “Pocket Doctor,” MRT hopes to fill the gap in the number of doctors and patients.

Although Japan’s aging population provides opportunities, it also presents its own challenges. Aiming to change a hardwired mindset, MRT is educating the market on new possibilities to maximize the network of doctors in the country.

“We believed that our services were too advanced for the current mindset. We have to teach the Japanese people and we believe that this business model will also be applicable to other countries once they see a rise in aging population,” said MRT President Toshimasa Baba

Another player that brought IT uniqueness is FFRI, a company that creates advanced cyber security systems to fend off malware, keep all confidential data secure. An engineer who worked in the US, FFRI President & CEO Yuji Ukai saw the importance of cyber security and developed new technologies from Japan.

Along the way, Ukai wants to make a name for Japan in this technological field and has already established strong channels and partnerships in the international scene. Japan’s government and its largest corporations already know about the inescapable importance of cyber security.

With FFRI President & CEO Yuji Ukai

“We have to educate people of new cyber threats and on how to prepare for them. We want to share this information with all companies hoping that they will understand the importance of cyber security,” Ukai stressed.

Then there is OPTiM, a company that focuses on the Internet of Things and providing internet-based products and services that improve people’s interactions with technology in their daily lives.

OPTiM works closely with different industries – from agriculture to construction – and aggressively engages in R&D to improve the various activities of their clients. 

“We believe that every company, regardless of industry, will be a software company. They will need IT in every aspect. We hope that they will utilize the platforms that we have created to give them an easier integration between systems,” OPTiM President Shunji Sugaya said.

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