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Spreading the word about “Startup Lady Japan”

Last night, we attended “Women Entrepreneur Night”, an evening networking event held and run by Startup Lady Japan every month.

What is Startup Lady Japan? Startup Lady Japan is a bilingual non-profit organization run by four passionate women based in Japan.

They aim to empower female entrepreneurs in the startup community as well as encourage women to start their own projects, specifically here in Japan where the 2017 World Economic Forum ranks the country as one of the highest at risk when measuring gender gap. Japan ranks 114th in gender equality rankings out of 144 countries (see the complete WEF report here).

We understand that the summer heat can really get to you and leaving your air-conditioned home is just not an option on a fine relaxing Sunday afternoon. So, we’ve gathered key lessons and quotes from yesterday’s guest speakers.


“Cross-Cultural” branding: What is it?

This event’s topic was “cross-cultural” branding–defining it, shaping it and implementing it for your business brand in a targeted market, both overseas and domestically in Japan. Yesterday’s guest speakers were Annie Chang (President of Women in Technology Japan), Jordan Fisher (CEO/Founder of Zehitomo) & Gizem Sakamaki (Founder of Foodie Tours Japan).

The three Japan-based, gaijin (foreigner) founders each shared their own personal journey along with that of their startup. They each spoke about carefully considering how their respective business plans would play out in a Japanese cross-cultural context. Questions like “how would a Japanese person perceive this website layout?” or “What food experience would be interesting to a foreigner visiting Japan for the first time?” came up in their presentations.

 

Our Favorite Quotes

“Diversity is key to innovation and innovation is key to compete. The CEO has to be on board [with what diversity really means]” – Annie Chang, President of Women in Technology Japan

“The problem with maps is that they don’t show the area’s best places to eat from a local’s perspective. With my background in hospitality, I knew I could provide a useful service” – Gizem Sakamaki, Founder of Foodie Tours Japan

“Our lead-generation platform business model is a more disruptive model [in Japan]. I learned that Japanese consumers can be irrational and so I had to ‘rationalize irrationality'” – Jordan Fisher, CEO & Co-founder of Zehitomo

If you identify as male and would like to support

Those who identify as male cannot join the community. However, if you are a strong supporter wanting to shrink the gender gap in Japan and are happy to share your knowledge, skills and resources with ambitious women who aspire to start their own startup, you can contact info@startuplady.org

Wrap-up

We thank Startup Lady Japan for their efforts in moving this initiative forward and look forward to future events. We also hope that future events will tie the discussions back to the core message of uplifting women in the startup community.

The organization has recently been featured in several media sources including this Tokyo Weekender article, “Tokyo Fempreneurs: A New Startup-Focused Venture Supports Women in Business”.