The Asian Entrepreneurship Award Steering Committee announced today that it will hold the Asian Entrepreneurship Award 2021 event (AEA 2021) from October 27th to 28th. Now in their tenth year, the Asian Entrepreneurship Awards recognize and reward innovation among young entrepreneurs and tech startups across Asia.
The AEA 2021 will bring together 30 selected startups from across Asia providing solutions in the areas of healthcare, work & lifestyle reform, and sustainability, all of which have become key issues globally. During the event, the startups will deliver business presentations showcasing their services and products, with the winners being selected on the basis of a wide range of criteria. These will include innovativeness, the social and economic impact of their products and services, their commercial viability, the potential for collaboration with Japanese companies, and the opportunity for business expansion in Japan. The entire event will be held online.
Over 200 tech startups from 14 countries & regions across Asia have showcased their solutions at AEA since 2012
Since its launch in 2012, AEA has provided a stage for promising entrepreneurs and startups from rapidly growing countries and regions in Asia on which they can showcase business ideas and technologies aimed at addressing social issues. To date, a total of 217 tech startups from 14 countries and regions across Asia have participated in AEA events. All entrants were nominated by key notable institutions such as the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the University of Tokyo, as well as by incubators, accelerators, universities and other institutions supporting start-up companies in their respective countries and regions.
AEA2021 to offer 1.5 months of mentoring sessions and access to an online community to accelerate startups’ entry to the Japan market
The AEA2021 event will feature several new initiatives that will further accelerate collaboration between Japanese companies and participating startups. This year, to boost the chances of the startups entering the Japanese market, they will receive mentoring for 1.5 months aimed at brushing up their business plans for the Japan market. This is expected to help entrants acquire a better understanding of the market and facilitate their collaboration with prospective Japanese partners.
Last year’s AEA2020, the first AEA to be held fully online, resulted in a total of 51 matching opportunities and 31 meetings between startup entrants and participating Japanese companies. Aiming to promote even greater collaboration this year, AEA2021 will provide additional business-matching sessions providing opportunities for deeper discussions; communities and gatherings that will allow startups to expand their networks will also be hosted. Startups participating in previous AEA events took advantage of these opportunities to accelerate their business development, with some of them successfully achieving IPO or entering into M&A discussions.
AEA2021 will also enhance the online networking and community-building opportunities it offers to participants using the chat tool “Slack”, enabling a new online community consisting of more than 200 startups that have participated in previous AEA events as well as Japanese companies, sponsors, and overseas nominators. This will provide opportunities for ongoing business collaboration between Japanese companies and startups after the event, including the opportunity for direct communication, the chance to build relationships with overseas nominators, and to disseminate information about Japanese companies’ own efforts in support of startups.
Founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus to share his vision of social businesses
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of AEA, this year’s event will feature a special keynote speech by Dr. Muhammad Yunus, who will share his vision of social businesses – businesses established to address specific social or environmental problems—and next-generation leadership. Dr. Yunus is a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 in recognition of his founding of the Grameen Bank, which pioneered the concepts of microcredits and microfinance with the aim of alleviating poverty and promoting peace. Dr. Yunus was also awarded the Olympic Laurel for his work at Yunus Sports Hub, the global social business network creating solutions in and through sport.
Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City to host the event and serve as a launchpad for the startups’ entry to the Japan market
The Kashiwa-no-ha area is promoting an urban development model based on the three themes of “environmental coexistence,” “health and longevity”, and “creation of new industries.” In 2019, Kashiwa-no-ha launched an initiative aimed at accelerating the creation of new industries whereby the entire city serves as a platform for companies and organizations to conduct trials and demonstrations. In the past, start-ups that participated in AEA events have used Kashiwa-no-ha as the launching pad for their entry to the Japan market, running demonstrations of their solutions there with some of them subsequently securing commercial production of these. Japanese companies in turn use Kashi-no-ha as a demonstration facility when seeking collaboration with startups.