Unfolding a dynamic program across Asia, Europe and the United States in addition to local areas of Japan
On July 10, a consortium comprised of four universities and 31 institutions, led by Waseda University, was selected for MEXT’s EDGE-NEXT Program. This program will run for five years from 2017 to 2022.
EDGE-NEXT (Exploration and Development of Global Entrepreneurship for NEXT generation) is an education program which aims to create ventures based on business ideas and academic research outcomes, train business leaders keen on creating new businesses, and form innovation ecosystems with related personnel and institutions. These efforts will be made based on the results of the entrepreneurship education programs implemented at 13 universities participating in the EDGE (Enhancing Development of Global Entrepreneur) Program, a preceding program to EDGE-NEXT which took place between 2014 and 2016.
The newly established consortium functions as a hub developing and accumulating entrepreneurial knowledge from national and overseas industries, academic institutions, and government organizations. With their expertise, the consortium will pioneer new platforms with sharp ideas and systematic methods, and interdisciplinarily train entrepreneurs as global leaders who simultaneously have the mindset to make differences in local communities.
Special features of the consortium include:
- Unfolding of a dynamic entrepreneurial education program across Asia, Europe, and the United States, in addition to local areas of Japan
- Developing lean startups which implements rapid prototyping through collaborations with art universities and specialized fields such as medicine and engineering, and enhancing education programs through coaching
- Gaining hands-on experience of startup through internships before actually starting the venture
- Ensuring establishment of startups through coaching and mentoring supports until they can obtain large funds from venture capitals on their own
Through such activities, each institution will act as a training center (an innovation ecosystem hub) for future entrepreneurs attracting global attention, become an asset to Japan’s innovation ecosystem framework, and bring out a progressive business culture that does not fear failure. Additionally, the program aims to enroll 5,200 participants in the next five years.
There is much expectation for the consortium. In the plan, the consortium presented in detail the potential synergy between the Value Co-Creation Platform* and participating institutions, which is expected to fully function the management of participating institutions and cover wide areas of Japan. It also aims to set ambitious, upgraded plans and goals based on the achievements made in WASEDA-EDGE, a practical program made possible with cooperation from overseas institutions such as Babson College in the United States. Furthermore, the consortium will attempt to nurture entrepreneurial thinking among participants early on through coaching and allow them to experience firsthand what a business life cycle is like.
*Value Co-Creation Platform aims to build personal and organizational networks through collaborations with venture-related institutions, overseas institutions, and private companies which are then linked to global networks, becoming a role-model for entrepreneurship education as well as training prospective personnel for strengthening venture innovation.
Waseda University President Kaoru Kamata shared his excitement for the start of this new consortium.
“The EDGE Program at Waseda University (WASEDA-EDGE) founded and managed the Kyoso-kan: Co-creation Commons. In total, approximately 2,200 students and businesspersons have participated in the WASEDA-EDGE program,” explained President Kamata. “Eight venture plans were realized, and WASEDA-EDGE was able to demonstrate a new kind of collaboration between industries and academia, gaining much interest from businesses.”
“This year, we have implemented a business creation course for undergraduate and graduate students, which was an educational program designed during WASEDA-EDGE. The University is enjoying the fruits of success from the prior program, and in this consortium, we promise to expand on WASEDA-EDGE by tackling issues faced by local communities, where collaborating and cooperating institutions, and refine education programs.”
Lastly, he said, “I envision this consortium to be a hub for entrepreneurial training that globally attracts leaders to each institution and build a network with higher education institutions in Asia, Europe, and the United States. I look forward to our efforts of developing and building innovation ecosystems in Japan.”
Comments from collaborating universities
- Kohei Shiota, President of Shiga University of Medical Science
“As a result of the EDGE Program during the past three years that focused on collaborations in medicine and engineering, Shiga University of Medical Science has presented cases with the possibility to start new businesses in the medical and engineering fields, which could lead to the creation of medical innovation and the revitalization of industry-academia collaboration activities. As a member of this consortium, we look forward to producing visible results for training personnel and starting new businesses, as well as building innovation ecosystems in local communities.”
- Akira Fujishima, President of Tokyo University of Science
“Tokyo University of Science has participated in MIT-REAP (Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program) since 2015 and has established the Tokyo Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center based on its learnings. Here, we do not simply promote Ventures founded due to current needs, but our goal is to create a hub for leaders from various fields who seek new business opportunities by suggesting core technologies and its future with innovation in mind, as well as build innovation ecosystems that train many aspiring entrepreneurs. In this consortium, we look forward to collaborating with Waseda University, Shiga University of Medical Sciences, and Yamagata University to push forward empowering entrepreneurial leaders who will play vital roles in the ecosystems.”
- Kiyohito Koyama, President of Yamagata University
“Yamagata University plans to train instructors and produce entrepreneurs by enriching its original programs to train business leaders capable of solving community issues. It will also do so by developing a unique, full-scale support system and package for start-up businesses by utilizing existing systems and facilities for manufacturing until the business gets started. We will lead the regional vitalization by forming a hub for innovation ecosystems in the South Tohoku in collaboration with Waseda’s EDGE-NEXT and University of Aizu.”
Participating institutions (in alphabetical order)
- Led by Waseda University
- In collaboration with: Shiga University of Medical Science, Tokyo University of Science, and Yamagata University
Cooperating overseas academic institutions
- Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Maryland
- Babson College
- California Institute for Innovation and Development, Rady School of Management, University of California, San Diego
- Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship, Chalmers University of Technology
- CTBC Financial Management College
- Entrepreneurship Center, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
- Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship, Lund University
- Peking University
- University of Ottawa
- Honda R&D Co., Ltd
- Japan Social Innovation Center
- Learning Entrepreneurs Lab Co., Ltd
- MIT-REAP REAP Tokyo Team
- Okawa Dream Foundation
- Scrum Ventures
- The Shonai Bank, Ltd.
- Taiwan Third Wednesday Club Youth Chapter
- Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corporation of the Ting Hsin International Group
- Tohoku Innovation Capital Corporation
- Tokyo University of Science Investment Management Co., Ltd.
- Toray Engineering Co., Ltd.
- The Yamagata Bank, Ltd.
- Yonezawa Shinkin Bank
- Y Research Innovation
Cooperating universities in Japan
- Product Design Department, Tama Art University
- University of Aizu
Cooperating local governments
- City of Kitakyushu
- Kitakyushu Foundation for the Advancement of Industry Science and Technology
- Toyama Prefecture
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs