Innovation Dojo has just launched

A new program coined “Innovation Dojo” has just launched that looks to pair language students studying Japanese with Australia based entrepreneurs to work toward localising presentations, pitching styles, market research and the products being developed for the Japanese market and vice versa. The program will take its first batch of participants through in September and is part of a new organisation, the Japan Australia Entrepreneur Initiative (JAIE), founded by current UNSW AGSM MBA student Kaoru Nishinakagawa together with Joshua Flannery from UNSW Innovations and seasoned web and app developer, Ayumi Mizoshiri.

The program identifies and recruits talented students and young professionals, and forms teams around solving problems common to both Australia and Japan, for example, new technologies to further enhance the strong trade relationship Australia and Japan have in the agriculture or mining industries – or new areas of interest like fintech and cyber security. Ayumi Mizoshiri, who looks over the software engineering element of the project said, “It will all happen in a carefully curated series of events and online collaboration with face-to-face mentoring and pitch events. We’re building a solid IT platform to make true borderless communication effective and real”.

Pictured: UNSW AGSM MBA student Kaoru Nishinakagawa launching the Japan Australia Innovation Initiative

The event attracted over 50 attendees including the Consulate General of Japan for Sydney, Kazuma Hatano, General manager – Established Markets for Austrade, Michaela Browning, Shuichi Hirana, the Managing Director for Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and Brendan Elliott from Innovate NSW, Department of Industry. Ken Aoyama, an executive from successful Tokyo based tech company Cybozu was the guest speaker for the event with Austrade also providing some insights into the current opportunities for Australian businesses in Japan.

“The focus of our event is to harness the current focus on innovation and entrepreneurship that both Japan and Australia are experiencing right now”, Kaoru explained, “we are creating a program to train talented people on how to innovate across borders – its ‘lean startup’ methodology meets cross-cultural consulting and students, startups, universities and industry will all benefit”.

Pictured: A diverse crowd of government, industry, academics and students gathered for the event

Joshua Flannery, Manager of the Student Entrepreneur Development program at UNSW Innovations and co-founder of JAEI said, “It was really encouraging to see diplomats, government officials, UNSW academics and the local Japanese business community together in one room supporting the initiative. A large part of UNSW Innovations mandate is to bring industry together with our university population and to have our School of Humanities & Languages Senior Academics in the room with the likes of KPMG, EY, Deloitte and Amazon Web Services was a great start for this program but also a huge tick for UNSW”.

ken josh
Pictured: Ken Aoyama from Tokyo tech company Cybozu and Joshua Flannery from UNSW Innovations and JAEI founding member

The initiative has already secured Austrade and Osaka city government run Osaka Innovation Hub as supporters and is working to secure its first corporate partnerships.
Pictured: Michaela Browning, General Manager – Established Markets for Austrade spoke passionately about the Japan-Australia business opportunities ahead

The program will run for the first time in September and applications will open for budding participants in July. Further information on the program will be published here over the next few weeks.

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