Gifu University Entrepreneur Support Seminar

Head Office for Industry-Government-Academia Collaboration, the Organization for Research and Community Development, Gifu University hosted "Gifu University Entrepreneur Support Seminar" at Juroku Tetsumei Gallery (Gifu City) on August 18, 2019.

Under the theme, "How to inspire those who want to challenge something new," three prominent entrepreneurs were invited to the seminar as keynote speakers. In their speeches, they talked about their motivations, paths to successful business operations, excitements and fun when they saw their business taking off, as well as the mindset and readiness to keep on challenging to make their dreams come true.

The first speaker, Ms. Midori Ogino, founded Brown Sugar 1st, CO., Ltd. whose coconut oil products have gained market traction in Japan. In 2011, she started her business with just 200,000 yen in capital, and her company has reached a total of 700 million yen in profit already. She spoke about her devotion to work and her never-ending entrepreneurship. "Do I want to give it to my kid?" is her motto in selecting ingredients. She believes that the term "organic" is synonymous with strong and long-lasting bonds with producers at every production process, and she wants to make everyone concerned including producers, distributors, buyers, and consumers happy. She also mentioned the background and activities of her new firm, Bonyu.lab. Its major objectives are to address problems of breast-feeding mothers under a slogan, "Enjoy the first meal in life to the fullest."

The second speaker, Ms. Kiyono Yagami established Manabi-ya Mom. Her company has been engaging in a variety of women empowerment programs for each life-event stage. It has been commissioned from the Nippon Foundation ("Mom Intern Project"), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ("Female Entrepreneur Support Networking"). In her speech titled, "Create a society for women being able to take on a challenge with own ingenuity and creativity," she made some recommendations for people who are assisting prospective female entrepreneurs with respect to future goals, business profitability, and realization of a diverse lifestyle.

The third speaker, Ms. Chika Tsuge, determined to start a new business when she visited farmers and food production sites while she was a student at the School of Agricultural Sciences, Nagoya University. She established Lawin to promote product-branding for local food producers with her strong resolve "conveying hidden, real values of individual items to the public" in mind. The whole staff of her company works very hard to disseminate the messages of producers, develop original products made out of substandard, unmarketable vegetables, and open food fairs for direct exchange between producers and consumers. "Leave produce as they are to connect production sites and market" was the theme of her speech. She detailed the real situations in production sites, which are not always quite familiar to consumers.

Next, Ms. Kahori Nohara from Nagoya Institute of Technology (Aichi Prefecture) served as a facilitator for a panel discussion with the attendance of three speakers. In their talks, they frankly confided what went wrong in their attempts, problems and worries they face today.

Associate Professor Masayuki Uehara, Head of Industry-Academia Collaboration Division, (in charge of Gifu University Tongali Project) gave a briefing on Tongali Project* operated by Tokai Consortium to help people develop their understanding of the background, features and social contribution of the project.

Gifu University is carrying out a number of entrepreneur fostering programs under the initiative of the Head Office for Industry-Government-Academia Collaboration and in conjunction with external organizations (financial institutions, private enterprise, etc.). It also supports people in creating venture businesses starting from the university. We believe that they all propel students and researchers to raise their interest in starting new businesses.

We continue to contribute to regional vitalization and creation of new businesses through education and mentoring by entrepreneurs (Gifu University alumni), and building up the university's own startup development ecosystem.

Tongali Project*: Tokai Network for Global Leading Innovators (comprises Nagoya University, Toyohashi University of Technology, Nagoya Institute of Technology, Gifu University and Mie University) is providing entrepreneur education to produce future leaders who are capable of staring new businesses from the Tokai Region. The participants can learn from the basics of creating a new ideas (theory) to actual operations of start-ups (practice) in stages. University undergraduates, postgraduates, staff and businesspeople are welcome to apply for the project.

Scene of the seminar
Ms. Ogiono making her presentation
Ms. Tsuge giving her speech
Panel discussion


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