The following is the summary of a breakout session that was part of the 2016 Annual Conference.
Representatives from five prefectures gave separate presentations highlighting their participation in the 2016 Hidden Gems Showcase. Approximately 25 companies from Japan had traveled to Silicon Valley to share their technologies and services that have high potential for growth in collaboration with Silicon Valley innovators or investors.
On the previous day, the companies had held a “trade show” presentation during the public Annual Conference, giving conference attendees opportunities to learn about the businesses individually. The purpose of this session was to provide a more holistic view of the participating companies, and to link them to the broader ongoing Governors’ Circle initiative of the U.S.-Japan Council.
In this context, one speaker outlined three sets of activities for the visiting delegation: (1) create innovative business development in Silicon Valley; (2) increase the “Silicon Valley mindset” among the participating business and government officials; and (3) create networks that build off of existing ones such as the U.S.-Japan Council’s Governors Circle.
Representatives from Hiroshima, Okayama, Shizuoka, Fukuoka, and Oita spoke about the charms and technology/service advantages of their regions, and also presented specific business opportunities reflecting the participating companies. These ranged from power technologies, mobile technologies, IoT applications, gaming, 3D applications, and FinTech technologies.
In far-ranging presentations, the prefectures also highlighted their manufacturing strengths, attractions for visitors and residents, and even unique food products. Many of the participating business offered very specific requests as to the kind of investment or partner sought in Silicon Valley. Others offered general technology updates, while raising the importance of collaboration in Silicon Valley between key U.S. and Japanese leaders to create standards in new technologies.
Overall, the showcase energized the audience by reinforcing their appreciation for the value of Japan’s technologies found in various prefectures, and educating many on new opportunities. We all look forward to hearing success stories as a result of the Hidden Gems Showcase and the delegation’s additional activities in Silicon Valley beyond the conference. The conference and other activities were generously arranged by U.S.-Japan Council member Hal Amano.