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The New Fukuoka City and Auckland Council MoU

Two of the world’s best places to start a company team up.

The New Fukuoka City and Auckland Council MoU

5 min read

Alexa Huth

Writer/Editor for Fukuoka City

Alexa is a communications specialist currently living and working in Fukuoka, Japan.

Click here to find out more about Alexa.

It’s a partnership that just makes sense.

A recent World Bank study rated New Zealand as the easiest country to start a business in right now. Similarly, Fukuoka city has topped the charts for 3 years as Japan’s leading location for founding a startup1. These rankings prove that both places have a strong support system already in place to help new companies grow. Fukuoka’s designation as a National Strategic Special Zone, provides a simple pathway for startups to bring their businesses to the city. Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development  (ATEED) is a local leader in the economic field, and they back a startup facility operated by BizDojo that houses 72 startups with big plans for expansion this fall.

This MoU allows these two startup powerhouses to pool their resources, and provide entrepreneurs and even better and more globalized way to take their businesses from just ideas to full-fledged successes. While the agreement was originally forged in 2016, the new mayor of Auckland confirmed the Auckland Councils' commitment to continuing the partnership.

1.  According to the Fukuoka Asian Urban Research Center.

What’s an MoU?

The acronym MoU stands for Memorandum of Understanding, which is just a formal way of saying we have a great relationship with a group, and our startup communities are going to work together in the future. You’ll see us use the term MoU pretty frequently when we talk about Fukuoka’s relationships with other places and organizations. Auckland Council is the latest in a growing list that have entered into MoUs with Fukuoka. In fact, we have a handy map showing all of the places where Fukuoka has MoUs (scroll down on the page).

Strengthening Our Ties

This isn’t a partnership in name only. Last year, Fukuoka’s Startup Café held a pitch contest with the Auckland Council. The contest winners, YAMAP, were then invited to join a pitch contest hosted by Auckland’s GridAKL. Additionally, Fukuoka city will help to support Auckland startups by providing them with support while they establish their companies. They can access helpful assistance in areas like finding places to live, opening local bank accounts, and generally just setting up life in Japan. Auckland startups can also potentially receive business matching assistance as well as introductions to key financial institutions, industry-based associations, universities, and even large companies based in Fukuoka.

Startups going from Fukuoka to Auckland will enjoy similar help and support from ATEED. Many of Auckland’s startups are tech-oriented, with the AR/VR garage housing more than 10 startups specializing in these cutting edge fields. Auckland’s tech focused startups mesh well with Fukuoka’s plentiful creative startups, and the MoU will help encourage these budding companies to interact on a more regular basis. These interactions will surely spark unique partnerships and result in inspiring innovations. Watch out for more updates as we start to see the collaborations from these dynamic cities begin to take shape.