CIC Japan Desk Year in Review — 2023-2024

虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず (If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub)

Reflections from Jessy LeClair, Director, CIC Japan Desk

Visitors to CIC often ask me whether a fear of failure is holding back Japan’s startup ecosystem. I can confidently answer by pointing to Japan’s ambitious startup development plan and the growth of Japanese startups over the past year. The answer is clear.

In the fall of 2022, the Japanese government announced a bold plan to invigorate economic growth by encouraging startups and fostering the local innovation ecosystem. Prime Minister Kishida made startups a key part of his growth strategy for Japan. He set the ambitious goal of increasing the number of startups by tenfold over the next five years.

Founders from Japan continue to make bold choices to take risks and put in the effort to work towards their goals. Entrepreneurship remains a rare career choice in Japan. Only 25% of people in Japan see entrepreneurship as an attractive career option, versus nearly 70% in the US. CIC Japan Desk is privileged to support these bold visionaries pursuing their dreams to bring their technology to the global stage.

Our team took its own risk over the past year. CIC Japan Desk grew from a one-person initiative to a multi-member team expanding the scope and scale of our projects to an unprecedented level. We joined trailblazing founders from Japan and the Japanese government in courageously stepping out to enter the tiger’s cave.

Throughout the past year, we supported 81 startups through three different accelerator programs in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI). Additionally, in collaboration with Venture Café Cambridge, we hosted three events that attracted over 1,500 guests interested in learning about innovative startups and technologies from Japan. We invite you to learn more in our CIC Japan Desk Year in Review report below.

These accomplishments were made possible by the invaluable contributions of the partners, mentors, speakers, and supporters. It is your generosity and commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation that make our programs a success. Thank you for your involvement in 2023-2024, and we look forward to working together again in the coming year!

The Ecosystem The Work Cambridge Asia Boston Japan North America Tokyo