JETRO Global Connection -Accelerate Innovation with Japan-

Report
JETRO launches the first business meeting-type Open Innovation Missions in three Nordic countries

(Sweden, Finland, and Estonia)
From London
October 29, 2019

Between September 30 and October 4, JETRO dispatched Open Innovation Missions to three Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, and Estonia) to hold business meetings between local startups and Japanese companies. Rather than being “visit-type” missions, these were the first “business meeting-type” missions, with the aim of achieving concrete results by focusing on reverse pitches (Note), networking, and individual business meetings by eight Japanese companies (nine companies in Estonia).

In Sweden, where open innovation by Ericsson, ABB, and other major companies is thriving against the backdrop of a highly digitized society, the Japanese companies exchanged opinions with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, and other universities and research institutes in Stockholm. The Swedish organizations expressed their willingness to pursue the possibility of further corporate exchanges in technology fields where Japanese companies are interested, and active business discussions were held with local companies working in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Cleantech.

Networking in Sweden (photo by JETRO)

Networking in Sweden (photo by JETRO)

Finland boasts companies and universities with abundant ideas and talent and continues to produce many entrepreneurs. During the Finland Mission, the Japanese companies visited research institutions in Espoo, such as Aalto University and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. In Helsinki, the Japanese companies had business meetings with companies in the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobility sectors. The reverse pitches were so popular that the representatives from local companies could not all fit in the venue. Finland, which has an advantage in terms of accessing high-growth tech companies, has repeatedly commented that it can build cooperation with Japan through open innovation.

Event co-hosted by the Embassy of Japan in Finland (photo by JETRO)

Event co-hosted by the Embassy of Japan in Finland (photo by JETRO)

Estonia is promoting advanced digitalization policies, such as promoting e-government, and is attracting attention with the introduction of the world’s first electronic system for citizens. During the Estonia Mission, the Japanese companies exchanged opinions with university officials, such as those from Tallinn University of Technology and Mektory in Tallinn City, and held business meetings with companies in the AI and blockchain sectors. The Estonian side pointed out that Estonia and Japan are highly compatible for business and hoped for even more concrete results.

Reverse pitch in Estonia. Many participants from local companies listened eagerly (photo by JETRO)

Reverse pitch in Estonia. Many participants from local companies listened eagerly (photo by JETRO)

In the reverse pitches during the missions, Scandinavian companies became more interested in the collaboration with Japanese companies, with about 200 people from tech companies participating from a wide variety of industries in the three countries and about 180 business meetings held.
The Japanese companies who participated in the missions, which were conducted with the cooperation of local government agencies, municipalities, and diplomatic missions abroad, commented, “It was good to be able to meet companies and research institutions that we could not know through individual activities,” and “We were able to effectively communicate our goals and initiatives and find startup companies that we could collaborate with.”
(Note) An existing company that seeks technical tie-ups/acquisitions, etc., calls for cooperation with startups.
(YUKITA Daisaku)

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