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AGER Japan Symposium 2017

Fostering Japanese entrepreneurship Amway Japan hosted a public symposium on entrepreneurship and Japan's future in Tokyo to discuss how the country could improve young people's interest in business ownership in Japan.
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AGER Japan Symposium 2017

In June 2013, the Japanese government introduced a growth strategy to expand its start-up rate of 4.5% (in 2009), to 10% by 2020 -- equivalent to the US and UK levels. Since then, government agencies have worked to support entrepreneurship by developing systems, offering subsidies, holding events and more. However, Japanese entrepreneurship ranks the lowest out of the 45 countries surveyed in the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER), based on the Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index.

AGER Japan Symposium 2017
AGER Japan Symposium 2017

According to additional research, Japanese young people tend to lack “ambition,” “aspiration,” “self-esteem,” and an “understanding of one’s ability.” These factors adversely influence their perspective toward entrepreneurship when compared with other countries. The research also found that many young people “do not want to work.” This poses a serious issue for the future of Japan. Government, business leaders and national media are now focused on how Japan can engender greater entrepreneurship as a key part of the country’s future.

The current environment is an ideal fit with Amway, which has offered the Japanese people the opportunity to own their own businesses for more than 40 years.

Amway Japan hosted a public symposium in Tokyo on entrepreneurship and Japan’s future on April 4, 2017. The Board of Education of Shibuya City, Tokyo, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Embassy in Japan supported the symposium. Peter Strydom (President, Amway Japan G.K.) and Yuri Ann Arthur (Commercial Attaché, Department of Commerce, US Embassy) delivered remarks to open the event. And afterward, Waseda University Business School professor Hironori Higashide, Japanese fashion model Rie Hasegawa, Cafe Company Inc. Representative Director Shujiro Kusumoto, and Higa Industries Co., Ltd. Chairman, President & CEO Ernest M. Higa hosted a roundtable discussion on how Japan could improve young people’s entrepreneurship in Japan.

Lastly, AGER Academic Advisor Professor Higashide presented research showing that young people in Japan have a low degree of entrepreneurship. Compared to their counterparts in other developed countries, Japanese lack attributes such as “ambition,” “aspiration” and “self-esteem.” He also gave cultural insights related to entrepreneurship as well. For example, relative to other nations, Japanese parents and children report less conversation and fewer opportunities to get input from their parents on important matters. Communication between parents and children is one of the more important factors in developing the self-confidence and goal-driven direction that underlie an interest in entrepreneurship.

The symposium’s theme of how to develop entrepreneurship among youth was of high interest to the public. Approximately 100 people including legacy media and social media influencers attended the symposium, and the event was widely covered in the media.

Amway Japan continues to support the development of entrepreneurship. In 2017-18, Amway Japan has supported new research focused on developing entrepreneurship among youth in partnership with Professor Higashide, and conducted focus groups in conjunction with Yohei Harada, the highly influential director of the Hakuhodo Youth Research Center. In 2018, the AGER symposium will announce the result of our latest research, which will help inform government officials, business owners and key opinion leaders on how to make entrepreneurship more attractive to Japanese millennials.

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