Technology School at the End of the World

The goal of Chikahiro Terada, the head of the first school that aims to train future tech entrepreneurs in Japan, is to create ‘Asian Silicon Valley’ In a rural part of the country. The institution will welcome its first students in April 2023, according to the website of BBC.

“I became an entrepreneur after college, but I don’t remember learning any useful skills to start a business while I was in school,” Chikahiro Terada, who established Sansan Corporation, attests, Specialized in digitizing business cards.

At the Kamiyama Marugoto College of Design, Technology and Entrepreneurship, whose name is tentative, according to Sansan’s website, students between the ages of 15 and 20 will study the necessary subjects and then enter the technology field. They will be taught programming, marketing and design, among other subjects. They will learn too Present a project to investors in order to obtain financing, emphasize BBC.

The school will open in Kamiyama, Shikoku Island. The city was not chosen at random. “I heard that Kamiyama was an interesting little town with old empty houses with good internet,” Chikahiro Terada says. So he has set up his company offices there since 2010.

The system, which allows a Tokyo-based startup to operate remotely in a small town of less than 5,000 residents, has worked so well that other companies have followed suit. This trend has also been on the rise across the country since the pandemic.

public and private financing

More than 30 companies fund the school. They are mainly Japanese, but some international companies have also invested in the project, such as the British consultancy Deloitte, the first of the “Big Four” in the field.

The Japanese government is also supporting, as former Digital Reform Minister Karen Makishima asserts:

“For years, startups have been at a disadvantage in Japan, but from today that will change. […] We encourage them to venture into the cities as well as into the rural areas.”

The school is also partially funded through a redistribution system called Furusato nozei. British media explain that the richest citizens get a cut in their taxes if they donate to one of the country’s most rural areas.

Finally, in important news for future graduates, the Japan Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), one of the largest institutional investors, has announced that it will invest in Japanese startups, according to the magazine. Nikki Asia.

long awaited project

Enthusiasm is felt: More than 500 students attended the meetings [de présentation de l’école]”, While there will be only 40 places to start the 2023 academic year, according to BBC.

The school is also committed to respecting gender parity among students, “A step in the right direction in a country where men dominate the world of work and the startup sector,” emphasize BBC.

According to Miyu Murayama, one of the directors of the future institution, there are currently no plans to offer a special course for international students. The course will be open to foreign students, provided they have obtained JLPT N1 (the highest level in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, which is intended to certify the Japanese level for non-native speakers). Candidates must also “Follow the same admission procedures as the locals”, specify.

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