The partnership launched at an April 25 event at Stanford University supports entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas for the area affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Leaders of this new initiative hope to breathe new life into the region by empowering entrepreneurs to rebuild the region in smart and innovative ways that will make it globally competitive.
The initiative includes the TOMODACHI Tohoku Challenge (TTC), an innovative business-plan competition, now accepting applications. TTC is bolstered by the USJC Entrepreneur Leadership Advisory Board (UE-LAB), a select group of leading Japanese and American entrepreneurs, investors and analysts with extensive experience in innovation, business start-ups and knowledge of Japan.
TTC top semi-finalists may have the opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley in August as part of SunBridge’s annual “Jannovation Week,” a weeklong immersion program that introduces Japanese entrepreneurs into the Silicon Valley ecosystem, culminating in a venture capitalist moderated pitch competition. SunBridge is collaborating with Venture Generation, a new business incubator sponsored by J-Seed Ventures, Japan to select participants from Japan. Competition semi-finalists will compete for potential placement in an incubator, under the leadership of Allen Miner, founder of SunBridge and Jeffrey Char, founder of J-Seed Ventures. Char and Miner serve on the UE-LAB.
The top three semifinalists will also receive all-expense-paid trips to the 2012 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference in Seattle, WA on October 5, 2012. The Conference will serve as a platform for the semifinalists to compete for top prizes of mentorship and pro-bono service packages. The two contest winners will receive priority placement in Global Venture Habitat and Venture Generation.
SunBridge’s Global Venture Habitat is located within the Plug and Play Tech Center in Silicon Valley and hosts entrepreneurs from all over the world, having vision and talent to build globally competitive firms. GVH has deep connections to entrepreneur and venture capital networks in Silicon Valley and offers intensive training for start-up entrepreneurs. GVH also has locations in Tokyo and Osaka.
Venture Generation is a venture community operated by J-Seed Ventures, Inc. VG is located near Tokyo Station and offers low-cost shared working space on flexible terms. The community is managed by experienced entrepreneurs who founded and operated several successful ventures in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. VG features a collaborative, peer mentoring process and offers members valuable business contacts and advice supported by a broad network of more than 70 advisors.
TOMODACHI is a public-private partnership led by the U.S. government and the U.S.-Japan Council, with the support of the Japanese government. The TOMODACHI Tohoku Challenge is a part of this initiative, which invests in the next generation of Japanese and Americans while supporting Japan’s ongoing recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake in ways that strengthen cultural and economic ties and deepen the friendship between the United States and Japan over the long-term.