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Where New Businesses Are Born

Business

Where New Businesses Are Born

All new products need parents. Osaka Innovation Hub is the local matchmaker, as it connects cutting-edge Japanese commerce with a global market. General Director Masaaki Yoshikawa explains more.

What is the Osaka Innovation Hub?
OIH is an organization that brings people together to help them innovate. It’s based in the Grand Front development in central Osaka. It was established at the end of April last year to encourage entrepreneurs to launch new businesses or products. OIH’s goal is to bring together business partners, funding, advisors and, of course, entrepreneurs to develop new products and services. We call that the “Innovation Eco-system”.

Is the OIH open to anyone, or do you need to become a member?
OIH is open to everybody! We welcome energetic and innovative people who want to go into the global market with something new, and of course they’ll enter the Japanese market too. Everyone is welcome to attend the many interesting programs held at OIH, and they’re all free of charge. Please do come and join us.

What kind of success stories have you had connecting businesses together?
The “Moff” band is one of our success stories. It’s a kids’ toy, worn on the wrist, which is connected to your smartphone. When the wearer moves their arm in a certain way, it makes various sounds that correspond. For example, you can pretend you are sword fighting, playing tennis, or hitting drums. Moff’s members first met each other while attending the “Mono- App-Hackathon” program run by OIH.

What’s a Hackathon?
A Hackathon is a new way of developing an application or software in a short period of time. It’s run by engineers, designers and users who meet for the first time, and they develop prototypes together. They work energetically, and occasionally all night long! The “Mono-App-Hackathon” is a Hackathon where participants develop hardware that connects with the Internet.

What’s the Osaka Hackers Club?
DSC_0372The Osaka Hackers Club is a membership organization for innovators who want to start a business. We support them with mentoring, funding, and building business alliances. They work with the foreign community doing business across Kansai.

What kind of assistance can OIH provide foreign entrepreneurs looking to launch their own business in Japan?
OIH provides the opportunity to meet others through inspiring programs, such as business plan contests or workshops discussing new business or products. When you attend, you can meet potential business partners, mentors, venture capitalists and so on. You can share ideas and begin to build up your network.

Are there any major events coming up this winter?
Hack Osaka 2015” will be held at Grand Front Osaka conference hall on February 10th next year. We’re planning lots of exciting activities here, such as a keynote speech, panels by up-and-coming entrepreneurs, global pitch contests and many networking opportunities. Please check our website for more details.

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