Japanese Students Gather from All Over Japan to Present Business Plans and Inspire Each Other
From September 5 – 8, 2017, the 7th U.S. Embassy-Keio SFC-TOMODACHI Entrepreneurship Seminar took place. Funded by The Boeing Company, this program was developed to support
young Japanese entrepreneurs interested in reconstructing and revitalizing the Tohoku community in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Following the pre-seminars, which began in May 14, 2017, teams consisting of 37 university students from all over Japan were selected to participate in the four-day seminar. The students came from various regions, including the Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu and Hokuriku, and Kyushu regions. Through the program, the students deepened connections with people they would not have otherwise been able to meet in their own regional communities. In addition, the students improved and honed their business plans after obtaining advice and support from over 20 professional mentors.
On the last day of the program, a committee judged and critiqued the business plans that the teams had developed over the four days. The judges selected six teams with the best business plans, which will be presented to a committee for final review on November 23, 2017. Until then, the students will continue to update and refine their business plans.
The students reflected on this unique experience not usually available to ordinary university students, commenting that “It was great that the professional mentors were very supportive, and that there was an atmosphere of students also supporting one another.” One student said that the seminar “was not just an opportunity to think about making money through business, but also to consider what I truly want to do.” Through this friendly competition, the participants can continue to influence each other and build friendships, therefore opening up new possibilities in their futures as members of the TOMODACHI Generation.