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Participants Selected for Dispatch to Silicon Valley under the Start Next Innovator 2020 Program

February 8, 2021

As part of the Project for Creating a Bridge of Innovation between Silicon Valley and Japan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) selected 20 people from applicant entrepreneurs, personnel in charge of new business ventures in large enterprises, etc. across Japan and will dispatch the selected people to Silicon Valley, the United States, aiming to foster next-generation leaders who will play key roles in creating innovations and to encourage them to create a bridge between Japan and Silicon Valley.

1. Outline of the Start Next Innovator 2020 program

METI has been conducting the Start Next Innovator program, a human-resource development program, as part of the Project for Creating a Bridge of Innovation between Silicon Valley and Japan. In this effort, METI broadly calls for applicants from human resources that intend to take on venture business, those that intend to take on new business ventures in large companies and others, selects successful applicants and dispatches them to Silicon Valley in order to provide them with opportunities for networking with local investors and entrepreneurs, and finally fosters them into key persons in creating innovations.

2. Process for selecting participants in dispatch to Silicon Valley

Over 362 people across Japan applied for the Start Next Innovator 2020 program. Out of the applicants, 100 people who passed the primary screening, including entrepreneurs and personnel in charge of new business ventures in large enterprises, participated in a five-month domestic program, which was fully conducted online. In the program, they attended practical lectures and training sessions and learned the behaviors and the mindset that are keys to innovators who are essential for creating new businesses. In addition, they refined their own business plans with the help of expert mentors.

Following this, the examination committee of: instructors, mentors, members of the secretariats, representatives of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and METI officials, all of which are involved in the domestic program, held the secondary screening of these participants and strictly examined the innovativeness and potential social impact of their business plans. Based on the results of the screening, METI finally selected 20 participants in dispatch to Silicon Valley.

3. Outline of the dispatch to Silicon Valley

In the dispatch to Silicon Valley, these participants will aim to assimilate the mindset and master the skills necessary for becoming next-generation leaders who will play key roles in creating innovations, through experiencing practices in use at the most advanced sites, e.g., by pitching their ideas to investors, entrepreneurs and other outstanding people in Silicon Valley.

METI will determine the schedules and specific details of the dispatch in light of the conditions and other situations involving the novel coronavirus disease in the United States and Japan.

4. List of the selected participants in the dispatch to Silicon Valley

See the Appendix “List of the Selected Participants in the Dispatch to Silicon Valley under the Start Next Innovator 2020 Program.”

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