It is often said and thought that Japan is a tough environment to start up a small business, and many people give up before even trying.  From the materials below, we hope to show that the entrepreneurial and biz -venture startup environment is not as harsh or difficult as people think.

Since the Internet boom around 2000, help for young entrepreneurs has been on hand and various initiatives have been carried out.

Samurai Incubate, is one such start-up started up Kentaro Sakakibar started up by to support other budding entrepreneurs. At first Sakakibara helped his samurai clients with their online sales and marketing, then branched into more services, and his firm launched an investment fund. Read more about it all in Entrepreneurship in the Samurai tradition (Beacon Reports).

In Japan, there is a current call to create a favorable environment to unleash entrepreneurship in Japan, and a number of initiatives created to help young entrepreneurs kick off and execute their ideas, here are a few networks below:

Young Entrepreneurs Groups of the Chamber of Commerce   27,000 members nation-wide, its activities center primarily around research in corporate management, as they seek to promote corporate prosperity through mutual exchanges and to support the broader activities of the Chamber. More details about what the group does from the Chairman in this document.

Japanese Young Entrepreneurs Network | LinkedIn

Spurred by the events of the  the March 11 2011 earthquake and tsunami … Project KIBOW was started up by Kiyoshi Nishikawa, CEO of Internet business incubator company Net Age read more at GaijinPot’s Fostering entrepreneurs for Japan’s future. Visit and their Facebook page

Japan Young Entrepreneurs Group (YPEG)

Although Japan is behind the US and the EU where startup-business growth is concerned, according to the 2008 GEM report, the rate of early-stage entrepreneurship has actually gradually increased over the recent years and is now around the EU average. On the bright side, being behind on the growth curve, also means that there is plenty of room for business development and therefore room to take off and grow.

The Funding Question

But as you are probably thinking, most ideas need money to grow, so where will the budding entrepreneurs get financial assistance or backing for their projects?  Money is actually no object, there is a lot of money in this world chasing too few good ideas, and Japan is no exception. Venture capitalists, investment funds and what are sometimes known as “seed accelerators” are good places to start off knocking on doors, if you are an entrepreneur (young or not) and need financing for your projects or expansion help.  See Well-known Japanese Venture Capitalist Finally Launches His Own Fund

Surprisingly, already lined up for you at this page are more than twenty such firms: Japanese Seed Accelerators  Venture Capitalist Firms…out of the said over-200 VC firms (see Brief Summary of Japanese Venture Capital Industry)   See also Famous venture capitalists in Japan.

This Stanford University report The Future of Japanese Venture Capital assesses that the venture capitalist market and environment needs to develop further but that it has the ability to adapt to economic realities as well as overcome Japanese conservatism to risky ideas.

And yet, the worst obstacle to the spirit of entrepreneurship, is probably the psychological seed of negativism sown in Japanese society affecting the young — according to the GEM 2008 Report, in Japan starting a business is not regarded as a good career choice, despite the media attention currently given to entrepreneurship (The Evolution of Japanese Venture Capital)

Are you or do you know a budding entrepreneur wanna-be? Below are some resources to encourage and push off the prospective entrepreneur’s fresh ideas:

In the UK, India and elsewhere, there have been many recent initiatives to help and inspire budding entrepreneurs:

UK: Take part in a Young Enterprise scheme to set up and run their own businesses for a year with the help of business mentors. See: Budding entrepreneurs head to campus for Young Enterprise competition / (UK-based) Forest Hill Society: Calling all Budding Young EntrepreneursBudding Young Entrepreneurs Group – City of Kingstonb someone Campaign Competition, organised by Bradford Council’s Education, Employment & Enterprise Team

India: YEFI: Nurturing Budding Entrepreneurs –

Japan Venture Capital Association | LinkedIn

Articles to start you off with: 

18 Entrepreneurs Share Their Top 20 Tips – Forbes

Young Entreprise – Start Something magazine

Why young entrepreneurs MUST go to entrepreneurship college

The surprising way to eliminate your competition

Databases and online resources:

Small Business Ideas and Resources for Entrepreneurs:

INSEAD – Entrepreneurship

Resources on Entrepreneurship – from Harvard Business School

Entrepreneurship.Org – A free, online international resource

Entrepreneurship and enterprise development

Resources for Creating the Business Plan:  

Business Plans – Harvard Business School;

Business Plan Template: What To Include – Forbes;

Small Business Entrepreneur Templates & Checklists | GoForth

Creating a Business Plan – Entrepreneurs –


How to use Facebook for Small Business and Entrepreneurs

Creating a business plan –

Entrepreneurship – BEIS – The University of Auckland

Booklist on entrepreneurship

The following are fee-paying resources:  
The library has more than 2,000 step-by-step training videos on topics covering business, software applications and creative design. You can learn how to start an online marketing campaign, how to take a perfect product shot, how to use Adobe to Photoshop a picture, and so much more

ProQuest Entrepreneurship ProQuest Entrepreneurship gives users access to an unprecedented collection of content types together in one product

That’s all for today…

Digitally yours,

Aileen Kawagoe