Go to home

Global Startup Center

Fukuoka Startup Journal

Global Startup Center

10 min read

What is the Global Startup Center?

One-Stop Support Center for Foreign Entrepreneurs and Financial Institutions

Fukuoka City established the popular Startup Cafe to help local entrepreneurs get their companies up and running. This space acted as a hub for entrepreneurs to meet and exchange ideas while getting advice from the Cafe’s expert staff. The Startup Cafe had always been a great way for both local and foreign entrepreneurs to get the help they need, but the city thought that the growing community could use more tailored resources. This initiative was sparked when Fukuoka City officials began to notice the increasing need for fluent English support, and they saw that the requests for consultations by startup founders from abroad were growing. At the same time, Fukuoka had been trying to attract foreign financial institutions with the aim of becoming one of the global financial centers in Asia, and this initiative had also been leading to an increase in inquiries and consultations from foreign financial institutions about expanding their business in Fukuoka City.

To accommodate these needs, the city developed the Fukuoka Growth Next Global Business Support (GBS). The GBS is a one-stop support center that provides English speakers such as foreign entrepreneurs and financial institutions full access to the resources and information they need to establish or expand their business in Fukuoka City.

GSC Concierges Are Here to Help!

At the GSC you can get advice from people who don’t just speak your language, but also understand your concerns. Each member of the knowledgeable GSC staff is fluent in English and has had extensive experience living or traveling abroad. This global perspective ensures that you will get the help you need from someone who can really see things from your point of view. One or more GSC concierges will be available during opening hours to adeptly help you navigate the process of founding your business. The staff understands how critical it is for you to receive seamless and comprehensive support when founding your business. They also get that sometimes the process can be a bit confusing. That’s why the GSC also has current foreign founders in Fukuoka that act as mentors. If a GSC concierge wants to make sure you get perspective from a founder who has been there, all they have to do is reach out to a mentoring founder and ask. Fukuoka City has worked hard to cultivate a strong startup community that is made up of local founders as well as entrepreneurs from abroad. These startups have paved the way for your success, and they are more than happy to help you get the answers that you need through the GSC.

The GSC Offers Unparalleled Business Support

Get everything right the first time by consulting the GSC. They’re here to help you with everything you need from answering questions to assisting with tougher tasks that require more dedicated support. For example, if you think you qualify for the Startup Visa, they can help to guide you through the application process. Staff members at the GSC can also assist you in some of the daily concerns you might have when living in Japan like renting a home or office space or opening a Japanese bank account. Fukuoka city even has a Memorandum of Understanding with various countries and regions around the world, including Finland (Helsinki), Estonia (Tallinn), Taiwan (Taipei), and the USA (San Francisco). These connections allow you to gain insight into the bigger picture and help to link you with new areas within the global startup community. Basically, the GSC and its expert staff will allow you to do more than you ever thought possible. Don’t hesitate to stop by and see just how important they can be to founding your business. Working with the GSC will give you more time to focus on the work you enjoy and give you the peace of mind knowing that you have correctly completed each step within the founding process.

Mumu Makinose

Over the course of his career, “mumu” has lived in multiple countries in Asia, Europe, and even Latin America. As a result, he can absolutely relate to your thoughts and concerns when moving to another country and making a life there. This knowledge helps him to give you practical advice about living in Japan, but his expertise doesn’t stop there. As the founder of Fukuoka startup lainen LLC, he also has experience working with international companies in countries like Estonia, Switzerland, Tunisia, and China. These business connections give him the ability to view startup development from both a Japanese and international perspective. He understands the local and global markets, and has been in your shoes when it comes to founding a startup in Fukuoka. Mumu is a great resource for the details you need to consider when moving to a new country and the tough decisions you need to make when founding a startup.

Advice from “mumu”: Be brave and be flexible. If your product is successful in the Japanese market, then you can be confident that it will succeed in foreign markets as well.

Ko Shimada

Ko has been supporting foreign entrepreneurs at Global Startup Center for nearly 4 years. He has gained a vast amount of knowledge and experience during these intense 4 years. Spending nearly 10 years in the Startup support ecosystem in Japan, he is confident that Fukuoka has the support system in place to help startups succeed. He knows that the city is capable of growing geographically without sacrificing the tight-knit community that creates such a supportive environment for founders and startups.

Previously, Ko has experienced setting up businesses overseas and the hardships that come with it. He can call on this experience to give startups practical advice that will allow them to see steady growth while always focusing on the bigger picture. Ko is particularly knowledgeable in the field of Travel and Tourism, as he is a qualified tour conductor, who can provide guidance both in Japan and overseas. This expertise also makes him the perfect person to help foreign startup founders find places to live and work in Fukuoka.

Advice from Ko: The Global Startup Center is a great service – and it’s FREE! Once you get to know us, we’ll be a part of your team! Let’s work together to make a bright future.

Mihwa Gen

Having received an MSc in International Relations in the U.K., Mihwa had returned to her hometown Fukuoka to work on Kyushu’s regional development.
While creating a business matching platform by organizing international conferences and visits, she has started a talent matching project between foreign students and local companies in Kyushu. Those works require a wide range of networks, and through the development of the global network, especially in East Asia, she has learnt how trust is built in different cultures. Her focus is on people, and how different perspectives can grow businesses and society.

Advice from Mihwa: Fukuoka has a lot to offer and is ready to expand. GSC can bring synergy with Fukuoka and your brand new business ideas in the most effective way, therefore don't hesitate to contact us!

Are you an entrepreneur who wants to found their company in Fukuoka? First of all, may we say you’ve made a great choice! Fukuoka City has everything you need to establish your startup and begin on to the path to success. One critical piece of this puzzle is our Global Startup Center (GSC), which is staffed by fluent English speakers who are ready to help you in every step of establishing your startup. Read on to learn more about how the GSC can help you with everything from opening a local bank account to getting advice from seasoned startup founders.

Excited to found your company in Fukuoka but don’t know where to start? At this stage, you probably already have a great idea, and have likely heard about Fukuoka’s special designation as a startup hub. Now, you need to take the necessary steps to establish your business and get to work! If you are coming to the city from abroad, this process probably leaves you with a lot of questions. Never fear, Fukuoka City understands your concerns and has established a simple way for you to get the answers you need. Fukuoka’s newly launched Global Startup Center is here to make your transition into founding a company in Japan as easy as possible.