Japan's new class of entrepreneurs

Experts put Japan's economic turnaround down to several factors including the consolidation and transformation strategies of big firms from Canon to JFE Steel, as well structural changes engineered by the government.

by Harvard Business Review
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

What people are missing is the fact that a new force in Japan - the rise of young entrepreneurs - is adding fuel to the economy's engine. There are a number of reasons for the rise of this very new social and business grouping.

Younger Japanese no longer assume that they will be guaranteed a job for life and therefore are mirroring their contemporaries in the West in preferring a series of interesting or rewarding jobs. There is also a set of new entrepreneurial role models such as Kenji Kasahara who took his social networking website, Mixi, public in September 2006 realising a market capitalization of approximately $2 billion.

This business hero was just 31. A favourable IPO market has also made Japan attractive for Chinese and Korean companies looking to float their shares in the Japanese market and the country's well-known technological sophistication, especially in its telecoms infrastructure and mobile penetration, further encourages entrepreneurship.

The size of Japan's economy helps it to propel new ventures forward faster than elsewhere in Asia, and its hi-tech knowledge base (digital animation, robotics, nanotechnology, etc) provide fertile ground for start-ups.

Harvard Business Review, February 2007  
Entrepreneurial Japan
By Yoshito Hori
Review by Morice Mendoza

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