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[This is a sponsored article with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.]

Known for its technological advancements, attractive investment prospects, and skilled workforce, Japan has long been associated with major corporations and well-established industries. 

Yet, the cultural factors in the workforce such as a preference for stable employment and being risk-averse have impeded entrepreneurship and innovation in Japan, according to the same source. 

This seems to be shifting though, as there has been a noticeable trend in recent years towards fostering a more entrepreneurial and inventive atmosphere.

Did you know: Japan was reported to have over 2,107 startups in 2022. 

That same year, the country reportedly had at least 11 unicorn startups. 

StartupBlink, Statista

Recently, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) set a goal to increase its number of startups, unicorns, and collaborative projects between governments and businesses by 10 times.

One way it’s doing so is by welcoming more foreign startups, such as those from Malaysia and Singapore, to seize business opportunities and expand their companies to Tokyo. 

What makes Tokyo an attractive location for startups?

Image Credit: Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Startup cities like Tokyo function as a vibrant hub for innovation, knowledge sharing, and investment opportunities.

Not only can it cultivate a sense of community, but it can also provide a platform for entrepreneurs to forge strategic partnerships, which can significantly accelerate their growth and success in Japan.

The Tokyo Innovation Base (TIB) is built by TMG to foster this culture of collaboration and networking amongst startups, especially those in their early stages. 

The space is designed for hosting regular industry events, meetups, and conferences, offering valuable opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts to connect and exchange ideas.

Image Credit: Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Meanwhile, players like Invest Tokyo provide startups with access to free consulting and R&D support

Here, startups can be mentored in conducting market analysis, finding the right business partner for their businesses, fundraising, and more.

Invest Tokyo can also help Malaysian and Singaporean entrepreneurs expand to Japan with subsidy programmes offered by TMG, as well as regulatory concerns such as Visa and residency support.

Another thing that makes Tokyo an attractive hub for startups that should not be overlooked is the country’s availability of a skilled and talented workforce.

Renowned universities and research institutions within Japan’s cities can act as talent pipelines, supplying startups with the human resources they need to drive innovation and scale their operations.

How you can find product-market fit in Japan

TMG told Vulcan Post that startups that are abundant in Malaysia and Singapore have opportunities to find product-market fit in Tokyo. 

Japan’s emphasis on sustainable development also opens strategic avenues for APAC startups to venture into cleantech, renewable energy, and sustainable mobility.

Image Credit: Tokyo Metropolitan Government

And to connect APAC startups to business opportunities in Japan’s business network, the SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024 conference will be held.

An abbreviation for “Sustainable High City Tech”, SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024 is a one-month event from April 27 to May 26 consisting of three programs: Global Startup Programme, City Leaders Programme, and Showcase Programme.

The Global Startup Programme is scheduled to be held on May 15 and 16, 2024.

The event is aimed at collaborating with startups keen on solving social issues including environmental urban challenges in the nation. 

More specifically, the conference will host sessions that discuss the vision of a sustainable future from various perspectives, including infrastructure, environment, living, as well as culture and impact.

There will also be a pitch contest where the winner will receive a cash prize of JPY10 million (RM318,141.17). Supplementary prizes like business matching opportunities are expected to be offered to startups with promising pitches as well.

Taking place both physically and online, the conference is expected to host over 40,000 participants to connect Japan with the global ecosystem and attract investment opportunities.

Tickets to the SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024 conference are currently available, and online participation is free.

Ultimately, the future of Japan’s startup ecosystem is promising, particularly for APAC startups ready to take on a global market.

  • Learn more about Tokyo Innovation Base here, Invest Tokyo here, and SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024 here.
  • Read other articles on Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Tokyo Metropolitan Government

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)