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Startup Team Fukuoka's Global Connections Grow

Learn more about these exciting trips and how they will benefit our startups as well as support global startups who are interested in coming to Fukuoka.

Startup Team Fukuoka's Global Connections Grow

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.

You’ve probably noticed how enthusiastic Startup Team Fukuoka is about forming new global connections. They know that the best ideas come when we work together to exchange thoughts and gain fresh perspectives. The more connections we make and people we meet, the more well-rounded our startups will become. It’s always great to see startups from different communities visiting Fukuoka and sharing their experiences with our teams. I’m excited to share that we’ve recently gained even more global ties.

This Spring, our team met innovators and potential collaborators in Estonia and Russia. Startup Team Fukuoka’s travels aren’t just about signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoU), they’re about forming genuine connections. These formal MoUs provide a framework where global talent can easily connect with Fukuoka’s startup community and vice versa. The more we have, the stronger our community gets! Here are some highlights from this eventful Spring trip.

Visiting Estonia

A very important aspect of the trip was Mayor Takashima’s consultation with Estonia’s Prime Minister Ratas as well as Estonia’s current Economic Advisor. During this meeting, the three leaders were able to discuss new potential points of collaboration as well as ways to keep supporting startups. It was an important chance to look to the future and identify ways to connect our communities even more.

As I shared a few months ago, Fukuoka and Estonia have three MoUs and are always enthusiastic to get to work together. Mayor Takashima and 47 members of Fukuoka startups went to Estonia in May to attend Latitude59 and establish new connections. Latitude59 is the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and meet innovators. In addition to having a booth at the event, the Fukuoka Award was once again given to an outstanding team. This award gives the winner a round-trip ticket to Fukuoka as well as other perks and special startup support. It really helps startups to grow roots in the Japanese market, as you can see with Coffee Pixels, the 2017 Fukuoka Award winners.

In addition to attending Latitude59, many members of Fukuoka startups were able to visit some of Estonia’s outstanding startup facilities including:

  • The E-estonia Showroom which is an exhibition facility established by the Estonian Government.
  • Tehnopol, a startup support facility run jointly by Estonia, Tallinn City, and Tallinn Institute of Technology.
  • Mektory an Industry-Academia collaborative facility that is lead by the Tallinn Institute of Technology and provides business matchmaking support for local startups.
     

Building Ties with Russia’s Startup Ecosystem

Following their trip to Estonia, Mayor Takashima and eight members of the startup community visited St. Petersburg to finalize an MoU with the city. This MoU will include mutual startup support between Startup City Fukuoka and St. Petersburg’s Techno Park. 
 
Fukuoka city first signed an MoU with St. Petersburg City in 2018. With our startup initiatives in place, both cities determined that it would be beneficial to team up on an MoU specifically for startups. This is Fukuoka's ninth formal MoU regarding startup support, and the eleventh cooperative effort as two connections do not have formal MoUs. In addition to signing the MoU, the Fukuoka Award was given out at Techno Park establishing even stronger links between our communities.
 

Startup Support in St. Petersburg

Due to this MoU, Fukuoka’s startups can get helpful consultations about founding companies in St. Petersburg. This is especially helpful as the support will be available even while the founders are still living and working in Fukuoka. Startups will also have help in gathering information on the local market and get the support they need to establish their company. 

Fukuoka-based startups are also invited to take part in St. Petersburg’s Business Matching program. They will also be able to easily apply to move into St. Petersburg’s local incubation facility (please note, there is a review process). The St. Petersburg team will also gladly help Fukuoka’s startups with introductions to key resources including financial institutions, industry groups, universities, and more.

St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF)

Fukuoka’s startup community was also able to participate in SPIEF this year. It was an incredible opportunity, and Prime Minister Abe attended SPIEF this year. Startup Team Fukuoka was given a space in Japan Pavilion at SPIEF, which has increased to nearly 40,000 participants since its inception in 1997.

Looking Ahead

Startup Team Fukuoka has a great momentum going and is actively building even more partnerships as we speak (check next month’s newsletter for another great MoU partner city). For startups with questions about how to access the support by one of our MoU cities, or anyone looking for ways to collaborate with Fukuoka’s startups, you can always reach out to the helpful concierges at Startup Cafe