Fukuoka – the Startup City
Fukuoka is rapidly becoming a leader in the startup world. Japan has awarded the city a designation as a National Strategic Special Zone, meaning that there is now a simple pathway for startups to bring their businesses to the city.
This designation has led to reduced regulations when it comes to employment, visas, and corporate taxes, making Fukuoka and ideal place to establish your company.
Fukuoka is the first city in Japan to offer a Startup Visa for foreign entrepreneurs.
Obtaining a visa is now simpler than ever. If you are an entrepreneur interested in founding your business in Japan, the six-month Startup Visa will give you the opportunity to live in Fukuoka and have access to all of the incredible startup support the city provides. The Startup Visa will give you ample time to get a sense of the city, the culture, and the professional climate all while establishing your business.
Startup Visa Requirements
You will need to submit a business plan to Fukuoka City to review. They will determine the feasibility of you meeting the standard Residential Visa requirements within the six-month Startup Visa timeframe. Please note that you must meet the Residential Visa requirements in order to renew your visa after the Startup Visa expires.
Residential Visa Requirements
Must have an office and a minimum of 2 fulltime staff OR an investment portfolio exceeding 5 million yen.
Financial Assistance and Funding Opportunities
Bringing your business to Fukuoka will give you access to countless funding sources.
The city also awards some new businesses financial incentives to help make establishing a company in the city more worthwhile.
The city provides loans for entrepreneurs who have established a business in Fukuoka during the past two years. These entrepreneurs will need to undergo a screening process to qualify for this loan, and can be awarded a maximum of 25million yen with 1.3% interest.
Step Up Subsidy
Fukuoka City holds a yearly Business Plan Contest, and contest winners may be eligible for the Set Up Subsidy with a maximum prize of 1million yen.
Support Programs for Establishing Your Business
Startups founded within the last five years may be eligible to receive specific subsidies depending on the number of employees they have and how much their offices cost to rent. Visit Asia-biz Fukuoka to see if your company meets the necessary criteria.
Matching with Venture Capitalists
Fukuoka City regularly hosts events where entrepreneurs will be able to meet with both local and international venture capitalists. This is a great opportunity for businesses to negotiate with investors and potentially secure funding.
These events will help introduce startup founders to established companies that can provide them with guidance and possible collaboration opportunities.
Fukuoka City provides a wide range of support options for founders who want to grow their businesses in this thriving city.
The Startup Café is the ideal space for you to learn everything you need to know about establishing a business in Fukuoka. There are English speaking consultants available to help give you the advice and perspective you need to ensure your business is a success.
Lawyers, accountants, financial experts, and government representatives are just a few of the specialists that you will be able to work with at the Startup Café.
Fukuoka City Certification
Some products and services may receive certification from the city. If your business is awarded certification, the city will assist you in promoting your products in catalogues and exhibitions.
This certification may also give entrepreneurs access to business contracts that are not subject to an open bidding process at the request of Fukuoka City.
Residential and Office Space Rental
Fukuoka city staff members are available to help you find the right office space and living space to suit your needs. If you have an outstanding business plan, you might even qualify for financial aid from the city to put towards renting spaces in Fukuoka.
There are also several incubation facilities located across the city that have spaces just waiting to accommodate high-quality startups.
National Tax Reductions
The city government understands that taxes are a big consideration when deciding where to found your company. If you establish your business in Fukuoka, you might qualify for a reduction in national tax.
*Available after relevant laws have been enacted and enforced.
** Applicable Industries: IoT, International, Medicine, Agriculture, Advanced IT
Financial Aid for Renting Residential & Office Spaces
Foreign entrepreneurs with a promising business plan may be eligible to receive financial aid to be used towards renting residential or office space within Fukuoka City.
In addition, assistance will be provided in finding residential or office space, and entrepreneurs will be given priority entry into Fukuoka City’s incubation facilities.
What is the Global Startup Center?
Fukuoka City established the popular Startup Cafe to help local entrepreneurs get their companies up and running. This space acts as a hub for entrepreneurs to meet and exchange ideas while getting advice from the Cafe’s expert staff. The Startup Cafe has 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. To accommodate these foreign founders, the city developed the Global Startup Center (GSC). The GSC is a place that provides English speakers full access to the resources and information they need. It’s about a lot more than just translating relevant documents into a language founders will understand. At the GSC, you’ll get comprehensive support and make the connections you need to establish your business. Read more.