Osaka Innovation Hub (OIH) aims to establish an environment where innovation emerges constantly (innovation ecosystem) by drawing and linking personal resources, information, and capital globally. About three years has passed since the inauguration of OIH, many global businesses have been appearing through interaction between entrepreneurs, investors, and engineers.
To further enhance and perpetuate the innovation ecosystem, it is essential to find great talent and foster entrepreneurship in entrepreneur candidates, such as university and high school students.
Many business contests for university and high school students are being held in universities in the Kansai region aiming to foster entrepreneurs.
We’d like to introduce a summary of independently-conducted business plan contests held by many universities in the Kansai region to give a comprehensive grasp of the contests, which in turn to help us create a mechanism to find entrepreneurs more efficiently and effectively in Kansai region as a whole.
Business plan contests have been held for more than ten years among universities in Kansai region. They accept business plan ideas from spring to autumn and conduct the final screening from autumn to winter every year.
Each contest has its feature depending on the university, ranging from open-recruitment without limitation to the students of the university hosting the contest, to planning committees operated by students, to business plan contests for junior and senior high school students at the same time.
Business plan contests at Kwansei Gakuin University, Ritsumeikan University, and Doshisha University also serve as elimination for “Entrepreneur’s Challenge” which is a nationwide business plan contest for students held by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in March with NICT award (a ticket to “Entrepreneur’s Challenge”).
Among many business contests, we have been participating in some business plan contests held by Ryukoku University, Kwansei Gakuin University, Ritsumeikan University, and Doshisha University, finding entrepreneurs and learning new ideas from students.
“Presen Dragon” was jointly held by Ryukoku University Extension Center (REC), the core place for regional and social cooperation programs, and a students’ planning committee.
A third-year student in the faculty of business administration won the grand prize. The business plan invented through his hobby and experience is a tourism advice business offering high-quality information known only to local people with inexpensive price, utilizing his own network of people. The winner who also won the prize last year made the presentation very well, aspiring to become an entrepreneur.
The exquisite performance at the event showed the enthusiasm of the students’ planning committee with impressive images at both the opening and ending. The fruitful event had a variety of contents including a simultaneously held business idea contest for high school students nationwide.
The contest was held under the auspices of the university’s Organization for Research Development and Outreach, and with planning and management by the students’ planning committee.
The winning team’s business plan is a plan to support tourists who buy a large amount of souvenirs. Four out of five teams participating, including the winning team, were from the university’s School of International Studies. Many business plans were themed around social issues such as medical tourism and vitalization of shopping malls.
On the day of the event, there was a presentation by the Best Idea award-winner in an idea contest aimed at utilizing the seeds of science and technology, which revealed promising new ideas for practical application at an early date, such as hydroponic culture using channels.
In addition, a business plan contest for junior and senior high school students was held at the same time. Among the participants, a female junior high school student impressed the audience with her robust presentation. She entered the “Entrepreneurs’ Challenge” in March as the only junior high school student among all the eleven team members and won the Special Review Committee Award, second to the Prime Minister’s Award.
The contest was held under the auspices of Ritsumeikan University, in cooperation with NICT and other institutions, and with the support of Osaka Prefecture and the local chambers of commerce. The contest widely recruited not only Ritsumeikan University students but also students in other universities, gaining a lot of applicants.
The highest award-winning business plan by the Kyoto Institute of Technology team is “the job offers and applications platform transcending national boundaries to find jobs and applicants across the world,” and the team also entered the “Entrepreneurs’ Challenge” in 2013, making a business plan showing great potential for commercialization.
The supporting companies award-winning business plan by Ritsumeikan University team is “A newly generated community linking farmers and students with juice made from non-standard vegetables”. We introduced them to farmers with the goal of commercialization at a later date.
The Ritsumeikan University team that won the NICT business plan award was comprised of students who participated in this fiscal year’s OIH program, showing that the half-year program focused on pitch and mentoring bore fruit. This team entered the “Entrepreneurs Challenge” and won the Special Review Committee Award.
The contest was held under the auspices of student groups at Doshisha University and the Liaison Office, in cooperation with the OB association of the university and banks, and with the support of NICT.
The grand prize-winning business plan by the team was “Guided-tour planning service for inbound tourism,” winning the NICT award as well. They also entered the “Entrepreneur’s Challenge.”
The head of the student group, the first-year student, worked hard with a lot of support from the senior students. The speech by a young entrepreneur from this business contest was also impressive and interesting.
All the business plan contests held this year were wonderful, abounding in originality and ingenuity, but the degree of attention from society still seems low.
We hope more people will be interested in such business plan contests, and will keep making efforts to make the every university’s events more fruitful by strengthening the links between OIH, each university’s business plan contests, and the “Entrepreneur’s Challenge,” as well as publicizing such business plan contests with the cooperation of each university so as to vitalize these events.
We will also try to find more entrepreneurship-minded students, support would-be entrepreneurs in realizing their business plans by suggesting OIH-based global innovation businesses (for instance, providing acceleration programs and tours to Silicon Valley, and creating opportunities for pitch events), foster entrepreneurs, and enhance the innovation ecosystem.
Main business plan contests hosted by universities in 2015 fiscal year
【The 10th Kansai University business plan competition “KUBIC”】
Deadline date / final screening; June 13th / October 3rd
Qualification requirements: undergraduate and graduate university students and other students nationwide
Prize: 200,000 yen for first-prize winner and other prizes
Purpose: to create opportunities for students to show their abilities to the full extent
【the 2nd Business Plan Contest (Kindai University Faculty of Business Administration)】
Deadline date / final screening; June 22nd / October 24th
Qualification requirements: students of Faculty of Business Administration in Kindai University
Purpose: to enhance awareness of business and improve skills for planning and presentation
Related websites: http://www.kindai.ac.jp/keiei/news/post-53.html
【the 13th Osaka University of Commerce Business Idea Contest】
Deadline date / final screening; July 1st/ October 31st
Qualification requirements: undergraduate and graduate students of Osaka University of Commerce
Prize: \50,000 for University President-prize winner plus foreign business training and other prizes
Purpose: to foster rich entrepreneurial personnel
Related websites: http://ouc.daishodai.ac.jp/research/at_university/business_idea/
【the 1st Osaka Prefecture University Business Idea Contest】
Deadline date / final screening; October 9th/ November 3rd
Qualification requirements: students of Osaka Prefecture University (including Technical College)
Prize: \100,000 for grand prize winner, and other prizes
【the 15th Ryukoku University Business Idea Contest “Presen Dragon”】
Deadline date / final screening; October 21st/ November 21st
Qualification requirements: undergraduate and graduate students of Ryukoku University
Prize: \200,000 for grand prize winner, and other prizes
Purpose: to find and foster university-launched venture companies
【the 10th KG Business Plan Contest (Kwansei Gakuin University)】
Deadline date / final screening; October 6th/ November 28th
Qualification requirements: students of Kwansei Gakuin University and Seiwa Junior College
Prize: \300,000 for best prize winner, NICT prize, and other prizes
Purpose: to create enterprize culture in school
Related websites: http://www.kwansei.ac.jp/shakairenkei/shakairenkei_m_001164.html
【the 12th Ritsumeikan University Students Venture Contest】
Deadline date / final screening; October 13th/ November 28th
Qualification requirements: undergraduate and graduate students of universities and students of junior and technical college nationwide
Prize: \300,000 for best prize winner, NICT prize, and other prizes
Purpose: to create university-launched venture companies and foster entrepreneurs
Related websites: http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/research/vc/
【the 6th Otemon Gakuin University Students Business Plan Contest】
Deadline date / final screening; November 9th/ December 12th
Qualification requirements: undergraduate and graduate students of Otemon Gakuin University
Prize: Quo card worth \50,000 for best prize winner and other prizes
Purpose: to foster entrepreneurship and increase interest in starting good businesses
【the 12th Doshisha University Business Plan Contest New Island Contest】
Deadline date / final screening; November 16th/ December 19th
Qualification requirements: students of Doshisha related schools
Prize: \300,000 for best prize winner, NICT award, and other prizes
Purpose: to provide opportunities involving a wide range of walk of life from various perspectives to the framework of starting a business
Report writers: Osaka City Government, Liaison Office for Innovation, Economic Strategy Bureau
Masahiko Umeda / Yoshihide Kanai