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Startup From New Zealand Wins First Prize at AEA 2021

(Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia and ASEAN)
January 5, 2022

*This article was originally published in Japanese. All information in this article is as of November 4, 2021.

TectonusExternal site: a new window will open.from New Zealand won the first prize at the Asian Entrepreneurship Award (AEA) 2021External site: a new window will open. (held on October 27 and 28) in which tech startups in Asia competed each other by showcasing their business plans that offer business solutions to social issues. Tectonus made a presentation showcasing its seismic dampers (Note 1) for earthquake protection. JETRO participated in the AEA as a co-host, and also, took part in as the nominator.

The AEA is competitive award, co-hosted by Japanese public institutions, private companies and academic institutions. It has been held in the “Kashiwa-no-ha area” (Kashiwa-shi, Chiba prefecture) every year since 2012, where various social experiment projects are being undertaken, and this year marked its 10th anniversary. Same as last year, this year’s event was held online with participation of 30 startups selected from 13 countries/regions (Note 2). Participants gave presentation on the themes of “Healthcare”,” Work & Lifestyle Reform,” and “Sustainability”, which are key global issues of the future.

Participants across Asia were connected online with YouTube live streaming from Kashiwa no-ha Area (photo by JETRO)

Participants across Asia were connected online with YouTube live streaming from Kashiwa no-ha Area (photo by JETRO)

The first prize winner Tectonus presented its seismic dampers for earthquake protection which can be used for commercial facilities and liquid storage tanks. Tectonus demonstrated that its dampers have higher strength to withstand earthquakes and aftershocks than existing technologies, and that they are versatile enough to be used with various building materials such as wood and steel. As the company is currently developing products for general housing, it is considering to enter into the Japanese market while exploring opportunities to partner with Japanese companies.

As for companies nominated by JETRO, More Foods InnotechExternal site: a new window will open. from Thailand and Peth Yoeung HealthtechExternal site: a new window will open. from Cambodia won prizes. More Foods Innotech, which won the second prize and the Japan Academic Society for Ventures and Entrepreneurs(JASVE) Award, sells meat substitutes called “More Meat” whose primary ingredient is split gill mushroom. It is a healthy food product with no additives such as artificial sweeteners and preservatives, and rich in nutrients such as low-sodium, low-sugar plant-based protein. The company contributes to employment in the region by purchasing ingredients from farmers in southern Thailand. In addition, the product also contributes to sustainable development as it requires less water and energy in the production process compared to regular beef.

CEO of More Foods Innotech receiving the award from a judge during the online award ceremony (photo by JETRO)

CEO of More Foods Innotech receiving the award from a judge during the online award ceremony (photo by JETRO)

Peth Yoeung Healthtech, which the first time to be semi-finalist from Cambodia won the Audience Prize, which was selected by votes casted by participants. The company operates cloud-based hospital operating software for medical records and patient data, improving the operational efficiency of medical systems.

Dr. Shigeo Kagami, the chairman of AEA Steering Committee summarized the AEA 2021 by saying “the level of entrants companies is rising and there were more entrepreneurs with a high awareness of social issues such as environmental problems and healthcare. In Asia, businesses with scalability that are not held back by the legacy of the past are emerging. This is a point that we should be mindful of in Japan as well.”

(Note 1) A device which is installed on joints such as walls and columns to reduce the damage to the buildings caused by earthquakes. It has merits such as dampening shaking from earthquakes.

(Note 2) Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam

Report by:
KOJIMA Toru, Asia and Oceania Division, Overseas Research Department, JETRO

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