Winner of TTC to be Announced USJC Annual Conference

Seattle, WA – The top three finalists of the TOMODACHI Tohoku Challenge (TTC) will compete at the 2012 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference on Friday, October 5th, where the winner will also be announced. TTC is a business competition focused on entrepreneurial solutions to economic challenges in the post-quake Tohoku region of Japan. The three finalists’ projects each support one of the three hardest-hit prefectures.

An esteemed team will judge the three finalists as they pitch their projects during a morning session at the conference (10:45am-12:15pm). This session is open to the media and judges include:

Mr. C. Jeffrey Char, President, J-Seed Ventures Inc.; Chief Mentor, Venture Generation

Mr. Robert Eberhart, Project Leader & Researcher, Stanford Project on Japanese Entrepreneurship

Mr. Ernest M. Higa, Chairman & CEO, Higa Industries Co., Ltd. & Wendy’s Japan LLC

Dr. Kathryn Ibata-Arens, Associate Professor and Co-Director, Asian Business and Political Economy Program, DePaul University

Ms. Yumi Kuwana, Founding Principal, Cook Pine Capital, LLC

Mr. Taisuke Sasanuma, Representative Partner, Advantage Partners, LLP

Dr. Norman Winarsky, Vice President, SRI Ventures, SRI International

The winner will be announced during an entrepreneurship-focused luncheon session (12:30-2:00pm) also open to the media. The TTC winner is provided recognition, funding opportunities and exclusive advisory services by the U.S.-Japan Council Entrepreneur Leadership Advisory Board (UE-LAB), comprised of leading entrepreneurs, business leaders and venture capitalists in Japan and the United States.

This year’s specific purpose is to identify a venture business that will bring innovation and employment to the Tohoku region of Japan and accelerate the rebuilding of the area. The finalists are:

• Ground Zero Incubation Center (GZIC) is a new business incubation center located in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate. GZIC is developing a unique coaching-to-financing local “ecosystem” for nurturing entrepreneurs.

• NanoMist is planning construction of a desalination plant in Kesennuma City, Miyagi based on patented, tested, eco-friendly cost-effective technology.

• Yoake-Ichiba (Dawn Market) and Rice Burger project in Iwaki-city, Fukushima is proposing to spread “smiles of yum” to the global market as a symbol of Tohoku’s rebuilding.

TTC is led by the U.S.-Japan Council in partnership with the TOMODACHI Initiative. The U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference will also feature keynote speakers including Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca M. Blank, Boeing President & CEO Raymond Conner and Lawson Inc. CEO Takeshi Niinami.

Date & Time: Friday, October 5, 2012 (9:00am-5:15pm with a reception to follow)
Location: Fairmont Olympic Hotel, downtown Seattle, WA
Registration: Press registration is complimentary.