Global Entrepreneurship Week, NPO nurturing young entrepreneurs


Kauffman foundation is a foundation devoted to Entrepreneurship.

From November 17 to 23, the foundation orgnaized  “Global Entrepreneurship Week” involving about 80 countries of the world to promote global understanding of entrepreneurial spirit and actions. Japan hosted two meetings, each in Tokyo and Kyoto, under the initiatives of Honda Foundation, GRIPS where I belong, Asia Productivity Organization, etc. By the way, Honda prize awarding ceremony was held a day before the Tokyo meeting. Official language was English for all meetings.

The meeting in Tokyo was opened with a lecture, followed by a project named “Elevator Pitch”.  Participants must “sell their idea(s) or project(s) to an angel investor in 30 seconds in an elevator which they happened to meet”. Three teams were selected from nearly 40 applications by screening of video presentations, and each presented as a team of three persons. The winners of the game were Asia Pacific University and Akita International University. Students from Akita were all females and no Japanese was included. Let me point out that those two universities are exceptionally internationalized compared to most of other universities in Japan.

To illustrate how "internationalized" they are, for example, 50% of 5000 Asia Pacific University undergraduates are from overseas and half of the courses are offered in English.

At Akita International University, T-score of students is over “80” at the time of admission, as I was told. It is a small university but with full liberal arts education. All students are required to reside in dormitory during their junior year, will study for one year at overseas universities during their enrollment, and 40% of the students in campus are international students because of this student exchange program. All courses are basically given in English with exceptions of elective language courses such as Japanese, French, etc.

In Kyoto, the venue was Ritsumeikan University. The lecturers here were also energetic and I enjoyed very much.

Photo: At Kyoto University. Kid entrepreneurs participated, too.


Photo: At Kyoto University. Kid entrepreneurs participated, too.


Next day, at Kyoto University clock tower in the midst of university festival, there were presentations and booth exhibition hosted by NPO Center for Entrepreneurship Education. It’s topic was businesses targeting on practical local ecology, and even primary school children were participating. Visit the Web site of the event (in Japanese but photos are nice) to catch the idea of its atmosphere. They were quite entertaining and also a good opportunity to understand the unique and interesting ideas those children and students have. I even thought that some of them already had potentials of flourshing just with a little help from existing corporations. Apparently, this kind of event provides a wonderful education and good experience for young people. I hope you will extend support for those activities.

Ms. Kikuko Harada, the leader of this NPO is doing a good job. Your support and personal or institutional donations are welcome here also. I urge you to visit its web site. The children looks nicely high spirited and motivated, don’t they?