The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Selects CIC and MassChallenge to Create and Operate an Entrepreneur Development Program for Japanese Startups

Recruitment for the new program is open through July 5, 2023

TOKYO & BOSTON – June 12, 2023 – CIC, the global leader in building and operating innovation campuses, in collaboration with MassChallenge, a global network for innovators, has been selected by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to create and operate a startup accelerator program for Japanese entrepreneurs focused on growing their businesses globally.

This program is designed for startups focused on robotics and cleantech who are interested in entering the global market, raising funds, and expanding their network. This project will be executed through CIC Japan Desk and CIC Institute, combining the unique expertise of two CIC business units to create and operate custom programming in collaboration with MassChallenge.

“Since the launch in 2020, CIC Tokyo has become Japan’s largest innovation center and a leading base camp for deep tech startups. We’re proud to partner with METI and continue to be a bridge between Tokyo and Boston that enables Japanese startups to succeed on the global stage,” said Tak Umezawa, CIC Japan Chairperson.

Kicking off in mid-August, the five month program includes three dedicated paths that will combine virtual and in person experiences in Boston and Tokyo, and offer distinct programming as well as opportunities for cross-cohort collaboration and networking.

The Global Entrepreneurship Growth Programs – Robotics & Cleantech:

Based at the center of the innovation ecosystem in Boston and Cambridge, CIC’s Japan Desk team will lead on-the-ground program development and execution where Japanese entrepreneurs will participate in intensive training programs led by industry experts, connect with investors, and join a thriving networking community. Based out of CIC Tokyo, the CIC Institute team will provide strategic expertise and support programming activities happening in Japan.

“CIC is uniquely positioned to drive impact within the innovation ecosystem by creating the space and programming that connect the leading public and private sector organizations with today’s brightest entrepreneurs and startups,” said Jessy LeClair, Director of CIC’s Japan Desk. “It’s a privilege to bring incredible speakers, mentors and potential investors together with Japan’s most intriguing entrepreneurs to help foster their growth.”

The Bridge to MassChallenge Japan 2023 Program:

MassChallenge supports founders who disrupt the status quo and create sustainable change – whether they fit the mold or break it. Since the organization takes no equity in startups, it is able to support founders from all backgrounds with novel ideas. The MassChallenge team helps entrepreneurs identify goals and key initiatives, provides access to a meaningful network of experts, speakers, investors and corporates, and connects entrepreneurs with a deep peer network.

“We’re committed to helping bolster the Japanese entrepreneurship ecosystem by identifying the most high-impact Japanese startups and connecting them with our U.S. network,” said Sunanda Narayan, Senior Director of Global Partnerships at MassChallenge. “This custom hybrid U.S.-entry focused program will include both virtual and in-person components in Tokyo and Boston post an intensive selection process. The program will encompass LEANSTACK startup programming curriculum, functional, industry and market-focused mentorship and networking. Japanese founders will be supported through every stage of the startup lifecycle to help them succeed beyond the Japanese market.”

Applications are open through July 5th, 2023:

Early stage startups focused on robotics or cleantech should apply to the Global Entrepreneurship Growth Program, and early stage startups in other industries should apply to the Bridge to MassChallenge Cohort.

  • Global Entrepreneurship Growth Program – Robotics Cohort: Apply here

  • Global Entrepreneurship Growth Program – CleanTech Cohort: Apply here

  • Bridge to MassChallenge Cohort: Apply here 

For more details in Japanese: Click here

About CIC:

CIC is a global leader in building and operating innovation campuses that support the growth of entrepreneurs and startups. Founded in 1999 with a single location in Kendall Square, the company now operates more than 1 million square feet of shared workspace, wet labs, and event space in the US, Europe, and Asia. Its collaborative work environments support thousands of individuals in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors who are focused on innovating solutions to local and global problems. Learn more at

About CIC Japan Desk:

CIC Japan Desk works to open pathways for business between Japan and the United States. Through hands-on programming and tailored services, Japan Desk facilitates connections across the innovation ecosystems of Japan and Boston, utilizing its homebase of CIC Cambridge and sister site CIC Tokyo as launchpads for companies seeking to collaborate or expand internationally.

About CIC Institute:

CIC Institute is dedicated to supporting the growth of startups that can achieve global success in collaboration with national and local governments, universities and like minded organizations. The new business unit of CIC has been created to build on the success CIC Tokyo has had working with national, regional and local government entities, universities and the private sector, and connecting them with entrepreneurs to ignite innovation.

About MassChallenge:

MassChallenge is a global network for innovators working to solve big challenges. MassChallenge is a non-profit organization that connects startups with experts, companies and communities to grow and transform businesses and economies. With our unique equity-free model, we support the rapid growth of high-impact startups with bold and innovative ideas that are unconventional.

MassChallenge offers accelerators, partnerships and programs throughout the year for those who share our vision: transformative innovation.