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Economy & Tech

Japan Business Competition Comes Back in Person, Rewards Perception and Creativity

Some of the most successful foreign business leaders in Japan train and advise participants to develop and present the plans to four senior JMEC judges.

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The Winners of the first prize, plus the judges of JMEC (June 8, courtesy of JMEC).

TOKYO—The Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) announced the winners of its 28th program in an awards ceremony held at the Tokyo American Club on June 8. 

The ceremony recognized the work of 52 participants from 24 countries. About the efforts of this year’s group, JMEC Executive Committee Chairman Tom Whitson said: 

“Our JMEC teams were again challenged by the continuing pandemic and had to adapt the way they researched and interacted to develop their business plans. But they succeeded! I want to congratulate all the participants for their dedication.” 

Whitson praised the participants “perceptive analysis and creative ideas to help our project clients.” 

The characteristic of this competition is that the participants can try their hand at drawing up projects for real companies with existing problems. 

Twelve project clients—including small and medium-sized enterprises, NPOs, and global companies—commissioned customized business plans from JMEC, at a price well under the market rate. Some of the most successful foreign business leaders in Japan then trained, mentored, and advised participants to develop and present the plans to four senior JMEC judges. 

The client companies included a choice of top-notch players in their respective field, such as Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan, Inc. 

Kimberly Alexander, vice-president and head of commercial capability at Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Inc. said: “Our JMEC team took a look with a fresh perspective and uncovered unique insights via research and interviews. The recommendations were insightful and actionable, and encouraged our company to explore new avenues for expansion in a fast-growing segment.” 

Other companies included CooperSurgical Japan, a company that makes products designed to improve the health of women and babies. There were businesses from a variety of sectors, such Xenon Partners, a software as a service (SaaS) provider, Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK), an NPO dedicated to protecting neglected and abandoned animals throughout Japan and Advitos, a German company that has produced the world’s first single-device, multi-organ treatment method. 

More than 150 people attended the JMEC Awards Ceremony. It was the first time JMEC had gathered such a group in person since the pandemic. 

The mood in the room was one of infinite possibilities, and one which will hopefully help jump start many businesses in Japan that are currently feeling the economic effects of COVID-19. 

 JMEC Executive Committee Chair Tom Whitson speaks during the Award Ceremony on June 8, 2022 (Photo by Shaun Fernando).

About JMEC 

Founded in 1993 by the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan, JMEC is a non-profit business planning skills–development training program supported by 18 foreign chambers of commerce in Japan. Over the past 28 years, JMEC has trained more than 1,400 young business professionals, many of whom have gone on to rise in their companies or start their own businesses. 

To date, JMEC has provided 286 high-quality business plans to help companies enter or expand in the Japanese market. 

JMEC is internationally accredited by Pearson PLC—the world’s largest learning company.

The JMEC 29 program starts in August 2022 with information sessions for potential participants, attended by JMEC staff and alumni. See the website for information session details. 

Author: JAPAN Forward