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Initiative to develop start-ups begins in Osaka

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe Yomiuri Shimbun

OSAKA — Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka has been launched to select promising start-ups from around the world and help them develop.

The initiative, in cooperation with major British start-up support company Rainmaking Innovation Ltd., was announced on June 24 in Osaka. The program is also supported by seven Japanese corporate partners: The Yomiuri Shimbun, Osaka, Hankyu Corp., JR West Innovations Co., Sakura Internet Inc., Dentsu Inc., Japan Tobacco Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

Rainmaking Innovation has been involved in similar projects in 18 cities around the world and has supported more than 700 start-ups.

The plan is to invite start-ups to Osaka or the greater Kansai region to help create new industries and revitalize local communities. Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka is hoping more than 300 start-ups from around the world annually apply to the initiative over a three-year period.

Each year, about 10 start-ups whose enterprise has already begun to take off will be chosen based on the theme of Smart Cities and Living.

The seven corporate partners will use their respective expertise to support and help the start-ups develop. These companies also hope to strengthen their own business through cooperation with leading start-ups.

Speaking at the launch press conference in Osaka, Joshua Flannery, managing director of the initiative and of Rainmaking Innovation Japan, said the expenses required for businesses in Osaka are two-thirds of those in Tokyo, and the city also has good transport links. Osaka is a perfect place for start-ups to grow, he added.

Expectations are high among administrative and business circles as the Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka aims at developing Osaka and the greater Kansai region into international bases for start-ups.

This is the first time for Rainmaking Innovation to provide start-up support services in Japan, where efforts to invite promising overseas start-ups are rare.

Support will be offered to start-ups working in the areas of mobility, including autonomous driving, living, tourism, and health and well-being.

By as early as February, Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka will announce the first results of the initiative. Cooperation with other companies will also be promoted.

According to the Kansai Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry, 70 percent of investment companies providing funds to rising start-ups are concentrated in Tokyo. In the Kansai region, it has been a pressing issue to create an environment in which start-ups can take root.

With large-scale projects at hand such as the World Expo 2025 and the Umekita Phase 2 Development in front of JR Osaka Station, Osaka has plenty of opportunities for start-ups to grow.

The Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka is also supported by the Kansai Keizai Doyukai (Kansai Association of Corporate Executives) and the Kansai Economic Federation under the cooperation of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Osaka prefectural government and the city of Osaka.

“It will be a great opportunity for the growth of Osaka’s industry,” said Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura.Speech

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