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Report: Foreign Entrepreneurs in Japan (2020/2/7) イベントレポート:日本での外国人起業家

Report by Iva Petkovic, Seitaikai volunteer, Kobe University


(日本語は下にあります)NPO SEITAIKAI’s second event targeted towards foreigners seeking to learn more about how to start up in Japan has been organized on 7th of February, 2020. More details on the link: Foreign Entrepreneurs in Japan/ 日本で挑戦する外国人起業家


Opening remarks from Seitaikai

Because of its famous tourist spots gathered in the area, Kansai is becoming more and more attractive for business expanding and foreigner entrepreneurs have been catching on to this business potential as well. Therefore, we decided to hold the event that would cater to those who are just beginners, but also those who need specific advice and come to be inspired, moreover, well connected in the international business community.


During the event, we had three unique speakers, who all came from different backgrounds and had different stories to tell about startup business in Japan. The audience, mostly consisting of foreigners, was also unique by itself, and it gave the event even more flavor when they started being interactive with the speakers.



Gunes Ustuner Fujita, Founder of Humony

The first speaker was Mrs. Gunes Ustuner Fujita, a CEO of Humony which is a company designed to provide match-making services between job-seeking foreigners and companies looking for such workforce. Mrs. Gunes took us back to her initial path of how she came to Japan and where did her idea of starting Humony come from. One of the first things Mrs. Gunes emphasised the importance of having a fit body in order to concur the business world, which in her case is her passion for Aikido. Originally, when she was doing her Masters degree in Osaka University, she noticed a lot of her peers having problems finding jobs in Japan, even though all of them seemed more than qualified for the employment. In order to fix this problem she devoted 7 years of working in many different sectors, for example, Marketing Agency and Osaka City Government in order to gain experience and necessary funds for start-up. One of the most important things, according to her, is truly understanding Japanese business culture before actually starting your business here, because unprofessionalism can be very damaging to the business one is trying to push. Mrs. Gunes also gave participants detailed advice on what bank is the easiest to open an account for your business, as well as, good and bad points of each working visa type.



Jim Huang, country manager for QueQ

After talking about how can foreigners most realistically start their own business in Japan, we had a chance to listen to Mr. Jim Huang who is a country manager for a Thai app called QueQ. QueQ provides a service meant for cutting the time wasted on waiting in lines forever and is with the help of a small Japanese team gradually expanding in Japan. One of the attractiveness he saw in Japanese market is the abundance of new software and services to be introduced to consumers. Japan has many good, high-quality and very user-friendly products, but when it comes to software, it is still behind some countries. This was the chance for QueQ, however, they could not just simply copy paste their business model to Japanese market. Understanding the culture and system regulations is the key to expanding overseas.


Jim encouraged all participants to talk about themselves

Mr. Jim gave us a bit of a feeling of what it means to work in a start-up. As he said, it has its own good and bad sides. Good side being that one can never be bored, and will be able to develop many skills, however it is a very demanding job which seeks employees to tackle many issues and problems that come along the way. Mr. Jim made sure to include all of the participants into the conversation of what their interests are and why they came to this event, giving all of the audience more freedom to express their concerns and desires which made the whole experience even more closer and friendlier than initially.


Sesto Keisuke Ueda, CEO of LYNX

Lastly, the final speaker was Kyoto based, Mr. Sesto Keisuke Ueda from LYNX. LYNX provides services such as, English education, Market research and Sales representative for foreign and Japanese companies starting to export to abroad. Mr. Sesto gave us a peek into how his journey to LYNX has looked like. It was met with failures, but he didn’t give up on the initial idea. In order to start a business, the key is to first find clients, especially in a city like Kyoto, where human connections play a big role in its success, finding ways to be visible with word-of-mouth and good and adaptable service was the major business model for LYNX.


The event was a great success thanks to the diverse and very experienced group of speakers who managed to captivate all the listeners and truly make them leave with a few more ideas and important information in mind. Gradually, with events similar to these, foreign entrepreneur community is growing and we plan to further connect with KIEC (Kyoto International Entrepreneur Community).



日本語

レポート: イヴァ・ペトコヴィチ、生態会ボランティア、神戸大学


NPO法人生態会は、2020年2月7日に日本での起業方法を学びたい外国人を対象とした第2回イベントを開催しました。リンクの詳細:Foreign Entrepreneurs in Japan/ 日本で挑戦する外国人起業家


有名な観光スポットが集まっている関西は、ビジネスの拡大にとってますます魅力的になっています。外国人起業家も、ビジネスの可能性に注目しています。生態会は初心者だけでなく、具体的なアドバイスとグローバルなビジネスコミュニティとのつながりを探している人を対象に、このイベントを開催しました。


当日は、異なるバックグラウンドを持つ3人のユニークな登壇者が、日本のスタートアップビジネスについて語りました。参加者のほとんどが外国人ということ自体もユニークで、イベントの成功の一因となりました。スピーカーと対話する機会も多く、喜ばれました。


最初の登壇者は、HumonyのCEOであるGunes Ustuner Fujitaさんでした。Humonyは、就職活動中の外国人と、働く人を探している企業とのマッチメイキングサービスを提供しています。ギュネスがHumonyをなぜ始めたか、教えてくれました。大学院生のとき、彼女は同僚の多くが日本で仕事を見つけにくいことに気付きました。7年間、さまざまな分野の仕事で働き、経験と起業に必要な資金を得ました。実際にビジネスを始める前に、日本のビジネス文化を真に理解することが重要と、彼女は強調します。なぜなら、プロに見えない不適切な対応は、ビジネスに大きな損害となる可能性があるためです。その後、Gunesさんは、どの銀行がビジネスのために口座を開設するのが最も簡単であるか、また、各就労ビザの種類の長所と短所についてなど、詳細なアドバイスをくれました。


2番目の登壇者はQueQというタイのアプリのカントリーマネージャーであるジム・ファンさんでした。QueQは、店の前の列をなくすアプリです。

ジムさんが日本市場で分かった魅力の1つは、消費者に導入される新しいソフトウェアとサービスがまだあまりないことです。日本には、使いやすい高品質な製品が多くありますが、ソフトウェアに関してはまだ足りないです。QueQのチャンスでしたが、ビジネスモデルを日本市場に単純にコピーアンドペーストすることはできません。


ジムさんの話しによって、スタートアップで働く意味を感じることができました。良い点と、悪い点があります。多くのスキルを持てますが、問題に取り組むことを従業員は求められます。ジムさんは、すべての参加者に、自分の興味やイベントに来た理由を聞き、懸念や欲求を自由に表現してもらったので、さらに親しみやすくなりました。


三番目の登壇者、京都ベースのLYNXのSesto Keisuke Uedaさんは、海外への輸出を開始する外国企業と日本企業に英語教育、市場調査、営業担当などのサービスを提供します。 LYNXまでの旅がどのようなものだったか、Sestoさんが教えてくれました。失敗に見舞われましたが、最初のアイデアをあきらめませんでした。ビジネスを始めるには、まずクライアントを見つける必要があります。特に京都のような都市では、人のつながりが成功に大きな役割を果たしています。口コミと優れた適応性のあるサービスを見つけてもらうこと、採用可能なサービスを出すことがLYNXの主要なビジネスでした。


このイベントは、すべての参加者を魅了し、いくつかのアイデアと重要な情報を念頭に置いて去らせた多様な経験豊富な登壇者のおかげで大成功でした。成長しており、KIEC(Kyoto International Entrepreneur Community)とのさらなるつながりを計画しています。


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