In most of the advanced countries of the world, present-day society has reached a saturation of quantitative abundance and prosperity. Exceeding this quantitative abundance, all persons desire a high quality in daily life and society, necessitating those in business and industry to formulate strategies, on a global level, for overcoming the “limits of growth”.
Now, society is changing from quantity to quality, from standardized to diversified, from supply-focused to demand-focused, from production of knowledge to the organization of knowledge, and from being an economy led by large corporations to one led by venture capital, and it is essential to cultivate emergent-type of demand.
In such a society, an especially important point is the circulation of a sufficient amount of risk money and the culture of supporting venture companies, as well as their unique ways of thinking and breaking down of standard practices, because they will provide us with the ability to continue to open up new territory in the future.
The Asian Entrepreneurship Award is a gathering of promising young entrepreneurs from Asia with great passion and a sense of fulfillment, and who are determined to take on the challenge of changing society without any fear of taking risks. Japan, which has served as the driving force of the Asian economy for the past 50 years and is now facing numerous mounting issues, must give recognition to those entrepreneurs, regardless of their country, who are taking on the challenge of resolving those issues, and to actively promote the growth of new industries.
The Future Design Center was established in July 2009 for the purpose of bringing together the most advanced knowledge and technological expertise from Japan and around the world to propose advanced models for solving serious problems. This comes from our understanding that the various problems we are confronting in Japan, such as environmental degradation, lack of resources, food dependency, health problems and educational issues, are all common problems that must be dealt with in every part of the world.
In fields related to the mission of Future Design Center, including the environment and resources, food, agriculture, medicine and education, entrepreneurs have the foresight to identify the latest emerging needs, as well as the ambition and abilities to act on them. Their innovations can be vital for breaking through social stagnation and overcoming crises.
The Future Design Center is based at Kashiwa-no-ha Campus area in Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture. By utilizing the numerous universities and incubation facilities located in Kashiwa-no-ha Campus area, the public, private, and academic sectors are working closely together to make it a highly advanced urban area, creating an environment conducive for promoting new models that go beyond conventional frameworks and facilitating innovation.
The Kashiwa-no-ha Campus serves as the stage for the Asian Entrepreneurship Award. I sincerely hope that this award will help young entrepreneurs gain the courage and self-confidence they need to take on leading roles in the Asian economy going forward.
Advocate and Senior Advisor to Future Design Center
Chairman, Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.
Former President, The University of Tokyo.
In 1972, he obtained a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Tokyo. After working as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis, and as Professor in the Engineering Faculty and Vice-President at the University of Tokyo, he became the 28th President of the University of Tokyo from 2005 to 2009.
To break out of an economic slump, we need entrepreneurs —the driving force of capitalism— who are determined to break through such stagnation and pursue “creative destruction.” This means that our biggest task is cultivating an enterprise culture to create entrepreneurship and new venture companies.
More than ever before, programs to promote entrepreneurial ventures and startups are now being implemented through industrial, academic and government collaboration in countries all over the world. Entrepreneurship has been positioned as crucial for innovation not only in the United States, but also in Europe and in Asian countries such as China, India and Singapore.
If Asia is to take the initiative and become a center of innovation for the world, we must find ways to attract young entrepreneurs not only from within individual countries but from Asia as a whole, which has been achieving remarkable growth, and inspire them to make the most of their know-how and technological expertise. This is why we must establish networks for new business development in Asia that include backing from the private sector and support for startups, as well as the participation of entrepreneurs themselves.
For young entrepreneurs, getting together with peers from around the world to learn from and inspire one another is a stimulating and valuable experience that can greatly boost self-confidence, a trait required to overcome the various difficulties involved in successfully operating a business. As a project designed to spur innovation through collaboration with numerous Asian countries under Japan’s leadership, the Asian Entrepreneurship Award is intended to help form an expansive network for developing entrepreneurial ventures that attract venture capitals not only from Asia but also worldwide. It is my hope that this award encourages collaboration between the public, private, and academic sectors to create an “ecosystem” that fosters and supports entrepreneurial ventures in Asia.
Professor, General Manager - Innovation and Entrepreneurship Division of University Corporate Relations, University of Tokyo
Dr. Kagami graduated from Hitotsubashi University in 1982 with a BA in commerce, after which he gained his MBA from the IMEDE (now IMD) in Switzerland and completed his doctoral work in business at Case Western Reserve University.
In 2002, he became an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Tokyo, and from 2004, he served as a professor at the same university as well as the General Manager of the Office of Science Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (SEED) of the Division of University Corporate Relations. He has held this current position while concurrently serving as auditor of The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Co., Ltd.
In the current society of material abundance, there are no needs arising for the existing types of products. In order to create new value and new jobs, and give rise to a massive economic metabolism on a world wide scale, it is necessary to establish a social infrastructure capable of accommodating the pursuit of those goals without fear of change.
From its founding dating back to the opening of the “Echigo-ya” clothing store in 1673, Mitsui Fudosan has repeatedly taken on the abundant challenge of entrepreneurship resulting in corresponding massive growth. Afterwards, while feeling the subtle nuances of the changes coming with each period, Mitsui Fudosan has constantly cultivated innovative businesses, and participated in the continuing creation of urban environments that serve as the foundation of human activities and culture.
The urban development of the Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City, for which efforts started in 2005, has served to create a platform for accelerating new innovations matching the period in which we live while Mitsui Fudosan utilizes its experience as an innovation leader among Japanese industry with the objective of creating models to resolve global problems. The area gathers together Japan’s leading university and a great number of research institutions, together with Japan’s renowned leading-edge technology and advanced research, as well as the superior personnel required to support these, in order to function as a one of the biggest and best bases for innovation in Japan.
Presented on the stage of this Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City, the Asian Entrepreneurship Award gathers together young entrepreneurs to provide a place where they can learn and have valuable experiences that provide encouragement and motivation while the award also serves as an extremely important soft platform for cultivating the future of Asia. I truly hope that, through this year’s award, now in its third year as it becomes increasingly more substantial, entrepreneurs are able expand their perspective to the global level and that these three days serve as a great treasure for many years to come.
Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.
Manager, Venture Co-Creation Projects Office