While the Japanese government’s low interest rate policy has long struggled to revitalize the economy, Japan’s private sector foresees the nation's economic future in the hands of educated young individuals who will not only rejuvenate the country’s economic growth, but also dare to challenge the status quo in order to bring about social change with cutting-edge technology and innovative ideas.
To encourage such individuals, Forbes Japan held an award ceremony this week at which it presented trophies to 13 such young entrepreneurs who topped its ranking of “Japan’s Startup of the Year 2017.” These companies are anticipated to grow and expand further, particularly in terms of these three aspects: “global,” “potential to resolve social issues,” and “cutting-edge technology.”
The first prize went to Shintaro Yamada, founder and CEO of Mercari Inc, who won for the third year in a row for the company's potential to grow “global.” The company has operations both in Japan and the U.S., providing a flea-market app which allows users to both purchase and sell used goods easily and quickly. Following the U.S. launch in 2015, Mercari’s unprecedented success for an Asian startup in a highly competitive American e-commerce market has been remarkable. Downloads reached 20 million in the U.S. alone, which ranked the company No. 3 among all iPhone free apps in the country at one point in 2016.
Yamada said: “This distinguished award will continue to motivate entrepreneurs in Japan to grow further,” and said he plans to expand his company's business into Britain, and further to Europe next year, in order to become truly “global,” as he promised last year.
One of the sponsors of this event, Tsuneaki Hirao, head of Japan operations at Credit Suisse Private Banking, said of Yamada, “Since the current capitalist model to boost the economy with low interest rate policy no longer seems to work, all we can depend on is young entrepreneurs like you, who have the potential to revitalize the economy by creating new business, new industries and employment.”
Shimegi Toshiyuki, representative director and president of the other sponsor, Porsche Japan, reminded the young individuals of their entrepreneurial spirit by quoting Ferdinand Porsche, who said, “I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself.”
Despite the fact that these startups have just begun their journey in the business market, Porsche’s words may have encouraged them to dream big and dare to advance one step further to reach their dreams.
“Dream big and dare to fail.” This is the spirit Japan may need now to get itself out of its long economic and social stagnation.© Japan Today