An Incubator for Incubators Gets Started

Back to Contents of Issue: July 2000

by Chieko Tashiro

JANBO, the Japan Association of New Business Incubation Organizations, was established in June 1999. The nonprofit's goal is to lend a hand to business incubators around Japan, which is in turn expected to help foster profitable new tech companies, among other advantages.

In May, JANBO launched a five-month progressive training session, to which eight incubators from eight prefectures sent representatives. The demand for the program wasn't quite satiated, however. "We received more than a hundred inquiries," reports Kunihiro Masukawa, office secretary for JANBO.

The session kicks off with three days of lectures at the Yoyogi Club Training Center in Tokyo's Minato-ku. Courses include an introduction to incubation, how to support startups, basic business, how to best use JANBO, and case studies.

Next on the syllabus is a five-month period where the instructors occasionally visit the incubators to offer further consultation. After this period the program is wrapped up with a final three-day session.

The fee for the member-only program is ¥100,000. Based on the demand, JANBO is planning another program in October, and also intends to offer a less intensive version to nonmembers.

If a program graduate does a good enough job of supporting local startups over the following two years, he or she can become a manager at JANBO headquarters -- and graduate from incubating startups to incubating incubators.

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