TOMODACHI Social Entrepreneurship Award Winners Travel to Silicon Valley to Pitch Ideas to Influential Organizations
During the week of March 15-20, 2016, four winning teams of the TOMODACHI Social Entrepreneurship Award from the University Venture Grand Prix Competition held in December 2015, had the rare opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley, California with two young professional mentors to visit the offices and present their ideas to venture capitalists, influential startups, and student entrepreneur groups such as Draper Nexus Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital, Wold Innovation Lab, CODE for San Francisco, Nifty, Rakuten Group, Global Brain and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
The four winning teams are Team MoonGlass from Sojo University, Team TechProgress from Ehime University, Team ECOLOGGIE from Waseda University, and Team DelphiMed from Chiba University. For these student entrepreneurs, it wasn’t only an opportunity to pitch their ideas to these influential individuals and organizations, but it was also an opportunity to be exposed to the Silicon Valley mindset, the American entrepreneur style of pitching, and to connect with one another as representatives of the student entrepreneur culture of Japan.
The TOMODACHI Social Entrepreneurship Award was given at the University Venture Grand Prix Competition in December 2015, hosted by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and supported by the Tokyo New Business Conference (NBC) and Nomura Research Institute (NRI). Close to 100 teams from undergraduate and graduate schools across Japan applied, and the top nine groups were selected as finalists to present their ideas to a panel of judges comprised of teachers, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and nonprofit leaders. From there, these four teams won the opportunity to represent their country and their fellow student entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.
Special thanks to Delta Airlines for contributing complimentary flights to the participants.