Helping global startups launch in Fukuoka, Japan.
Catching up with the Global Startup Center
3 min read
About the Global Startup Center
The Global Startup Center (commonly known as the GSC) is a team of experts who help international startups launch their businesses in Fukuoka. Founded in 2016, the team has grown from three members to six dedicated concierges. While five of the concierges are based in Fukuoka, one member is remotely based, working in the United Kingdom.
Their mission is twofold. One goal is to make Fukuoka a successful startup city by providing the best business opportunities to foreign startups. The second goal is to assist Fukuoka-based startups with global expansion. As all of the GSC’s members speak English, and many have lived and worked abroad, they are keenly aware of the challenges founders face establishing their lives and businesses in a new country.
Working with the GSC
GSC concierge, Aikiko Nakagawa, puts it best by saying “We are a part of the startup’s team. We are their first team member in Fukuoka. Not only because we provide free consultations, but we also help them to execute complex tasks, and on occasion can work on their behalf.”
Startups typically get in touch with the GSC either via email or by stopping by their concierge desk in the Startup Café. After an entrepreneur reaches out, the GSC team works to get a sense of the founder’s expectations for their future in Fukuoka as well as what product or service they want to create. From there, the GSC will help the company to tailor their vision to match the Japanese market and if possible, introduce them to potential partners. The following are just a few examples of the startups that have received support from the GSC.
Supporting QueQ, a startup from Thailand
“The GSC helped QueQ accomplish the most difficult and important parts of our expansion, which were getting the necessary visa and incorporating our company. Without their help, it would have taken much longer, likely 3 months, to accomplish everything.” - The QueQ Team
Supporting Team AIBOD, a startup from Japan
"Last year’s WARAKU SUMMIT, an international business matching event held in Fukuoka, sparked exciting overseas opportunities for Team AIBOD. Since then, our company has been able to expand its business to Taiwan and Russia. The GSC introduced us to Taiwanese and Russian companies relevant to our energy business, and we formed a partnership agreement with Volts Battery in Russian thanks in large part to the GSC’s support. Additionally, the GSC has introduced Team AIBOD to other global companies allowing us to form an MoU with Extra Technologies in Rwanda, where we are exploring an imaging solution for African farms." - Team AIBOD
In addition to continuing to provide support for both local and international startups, the GSC has ambitious goals for the remainder of 2019. One of their biggest goals is to increase the connections and partnerships formed between foreign startups and big companies in Fukuoka city.
These efforts are already in full swing, as companies in Fukuoka have signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) and letters of intent (LOIs) with startups in Saint Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; and Kigali, Rwanda over the past few months.
“Be realistic and show us your commitment. We are always here to act as part of your team in Fukuoka.” – The Global Startup Center Team
To get in touch with the GSC, please email the team here.