CNBC reports on a positive mindset change in Japan on entrepreneurship and start-ups:
Moreover, young Japanese workers have grown up in a world where innovation is driven by the likes of Airbnb, Uber and Facebook, according to Riney. Unlike their parents’ generation, they “never saw a world where massive wealth and innovation-drivers were Sony or Nintendo or some of those more traditional folks.”
Government support has been crucial in bolstering the start-up scene, according to Riney.
The quality of entrepreneurs is also increasing as many left their jobs in consulting or banking sectors to either start their own company or join the management teams of existing start-ups, according to another investor.
“Before, I couldn’t really meet founders with certain prestigious backgrounds,” Hogil Doh, investment manager at Rakuten Ventures, told CNBC. “Now, almost 80 percent of the founders have … worked for McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group or Goldman Sachs.”
The key here is a how Japanese society is evolving to no longer view working at a startup as a failure or some kind of plan B. It used to be if you were unable to get a job at a major Japanese company then a startup was essentially the only route for you to go. Nowadays that is no longer the case, and young folks are increasingly being attracted to startups.
Personally, I think the startup culture attracts Japanese millennials moreso than being lost in an ocean of corporate drones dressed in their freshman black suits. Startups generally value capability over the Japanese time honored seniority. They are viewed as potentially better opportunities for growth, even if the work is likely more difficult and riskier than established companies.
Finding the right startup is always the tough part. On the one hand it is important to locate a company that matches your skills, while on the other hand you want to join a startup that has major growth potential and long-term stability. It is a difficult yet exciting proposition for many young folks, who are increasingly steering away from marriage and family life.
Ultimately, a Japanese resident, I am very glad to see the startup scene is finally taking off. Like with so many other things, Japan is about 15-ish years behind the rest of the world. But once that momentum is built, Japan will be hard to stop, and will become a force to be reckoned.