NEDO and OIST Join Forces to Drive Entrepreneurship Support
Fostering University-Launched Startups from Okinawa and Empowering Skilled Workforce
The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) have entered into a strategic partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The collaboration aims to drive economic growth, technological advancements, and regional development through the cultivation of entrepreneurial ventures from OIST.
University-based startups play a pivotal role in driving innovation, solving societal problems, and fostering economic development. They serve as a catalyst for translating cutting-edge research into practical applications, creating job opportunities, and attracting investments. The partnership between OIST and NEDO recognizes the transformative impact of these startups on society and the regional economy and aims to provide the necessary support and resources to nurture their growth.
Key points of the MOU include:
1. Strengthening the Startup Ecosystem
The partnership will focus on fortifying the ecosystem that supports startups originating from OIST. NEDO will provide OIST with vital information on startup support and promote open innovation to enhance the growth prospects and success rates of startups, fueling the innovation ecosystem in Okinawa.
2. Fostering support personnel and promoting open innovation for R&D startups
The MOU emphasizes the promotion of professional development for personnel involved in supporting startups. NEDO will offer specialized programs and activities organized by Japan Open Innovation Council (JOIC), a private organization that aims to develop and revitalize open innovation in Japan by promoting matching between large companies and startups, holding pitch events, and workshops.
3. Expert Support by NEDO Catalysts
As part of the partnership, NEDO will provide expert guidance and support to startups and entrepreneurs affiliated with OIST. NEDO Catalyzers are experts with a wealth of experience in startup support. Leveraging NEDO's extensive experience and resources, startups will benefit from valuable insights, strategic mentorship, and access to industry networks, facilitating their growth and market penetration.
As a new international graduate university in Okinawa, OIST promotes a cross-disciplinary approach to problem-solving and to the development of new ideas and technologies. OIST also aims to nurture and incubate startups to implement its technologies in society. OIST intends to expand its startup support facilities in alignment with the fiscal 2022 supplementary budget for the "Project for the Development of Incubation and Industry-Academia Fusion Centers at Core Universities in the Region*1" by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Furthermore, OIST has been selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for the "Project for the Development of Facilities for Industry-University-Government Collaboration and Joint Research through Cooperation among Regional Core and Distinctive Research Universities *2," reinforcing its position as a core university in the region. By bolstering its resources, OIST is proactively fostering the creation of startups originating from the university.
As a national research and development agency that acts as an innovation accelerator to contribute to the resolution of social issues, one of NEDO's important tasks is to support the global expansion of deep tech startups. This MOU is the first partnership between NEDO and a university in Okinawa Prefecture. NEDO has similar partnerships with 17 other universities in Japan *3.
*1 Project for the Development of Incubation and Industry-Academia Fusion Centers at Core Universities in the Region (地域の中核大学等のインキュベーション・産学融合拠点の整備事業) : This is a project of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to support incubation facilities and equipment for the creation of startups with the aim of producing sufficient startups and promoting industry-academia collaboration by taking advantage of the cutting-edge research capabilities and energetic student power of core universities in the region, etc.
*2 Project for the Development of Facilities for Industry-University-Government Collaboration and Joint Research through Cooperation among Regional Core and Distinctive Research Universities (地域中核・特色ある研究大学の連携による産学官連携・共同研究の施設整備事業): This is a project of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to support regional core and distinctive research universities in their efforts to create the environment necessary to accelerate and raise the level of international development and social implementation of their research activities under strategic management based on their strengths and distinctive research capabilities, in order to create a cluster of research universities that will drive the development of research capabilities throughout Japan.
*3 NEDO university partners: Hokkaido University, Kyushu University, Hiroshima University, Tohoku University, Nagoya University, Kobe University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yamaguchi University, Yamagata University, Tokushima University, Shinshu University, Osaka University, Kanazawa University, Chiba University, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Kagoshima University, Shibaura Institute of Technology