Kyoto International Entrepreneur Community

Kyoto International community

Catching the shinkansen in the afternoon from Tokyo to Kyoto, I was heading to the Kyoto International Entrepreneur Community meetup held at The World Lounge Co & Co Kyoto.

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source: The World Lounge Co & Co Kyoto

Founded by Runan Wang and Hila Yamada, the idea of Kyoto International Entrepreneur Community is to get the Kyoto entrepreneur community together and bring like-minded people together to grow and support the community.  My initial visit to Kyoto showed me that there is immense potential for entrepreneurship in Kyoto because of the expertise, talent, and history that Kyoto has to offer, also because of the growing interest from foreign entrepreneurs setting up startups in Kyoto and Kansai area.

The Kyoto International Entrepreneur Community invited a number of speakers to discuss setting up business in Kyoto and IP issues by Ishigaki Sensei from Office Synqua.  The star speaker was Mark Wang of Shopify.

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Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce platform with Head Office in Ottawan, Ontario and is an e-commerce platform for all kinds of online stores from small SMEs to very large setups.   Mark provided an excellent presentation on how Kyoto startups and SMEs could use Shopify as a launching pad for their initial business.  Moreover, he spoke of his experience of setting up in Japan.  One of the highlights he gave was the fact that Japan has one of the largest consumer markets in the world.  Like most of the businesses I have spoken to, trust and time are the crucial factors of success.  It seems like Shopify will utilise their success stories and methods to grow in Japan.  Unlike local businesses adopting advertising and billboard, adds, Shopify at this point is not going down that road.   They seem to be making their own path and are a company to watch as they expand in Japan.

Associate Professor Sushi Suzuki of Kyoto Design Lab and Organiser of the Kyoto Startup Summer School 2019 has showed the audience how to do an impromptu pitch.



I was given the opportunity to speak to the entrepreneurs in Kyoto and I spoke of NewSpace, my journey and how people could get involved.  When I first spoke to Runan and Hila, it was felt an organisation like the EU-Japan Centre could be a very useful contact point for European or Japanese startups that are initially set up be it in EU or Japan.

My talk was very much about Newspace and how entrepreneurs can within their own field think about space.

Imagine Shopify entering the space market allowing businesses to purchase goods and services in space?

Tea manufacturing in space?

Whilst the Kyoto International Entrepreneur Community is relatively young in terms of its’ setup, the entrepreneurs there are not – they are seasoned startups and SMEs.

If Kyoto continues to develop its Entrepreneur Community, I think they have a great chance to take centre stage in the startup scene globally.  Kyoto’s unique history, craftsmanship is unmatched.  The combination of old matching new, innovation matching traditional methods is very appealing.




What do you think makes a successful NewSpace entrepreneur?

Do you have ideas for developing the NewSpace ecosystem?

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#Newspace2060 @EUJapanCentre






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