Now Open: The Bosai-Tech Open Innovation Challenge Is Looking For Startups in Emerging Tech

Applications are open until Dec. 16 for the contest, which involves four leading Japanese firms on the search for foreign enterprises in IT, IoT, AI, fintech, sensors, satellites, healthcare, drones, and robotics.

Four leading Japanese firms—Tokio Marine, Dai-ichi Life, NTT DoCoMo, and Mitsui Knowledge Industry—are looking to form business alliances that can drive emerging technology.

Through the Bosai-Tech Open Innovation Challenge, the firms are hoping to be introduced to foreign enterprises in IT, IoT, AI, fintech, sensors, satellites, healthcare, drones, and robotics. Named for bōsai, the Japanese word for disaster preparedness, the program is meant to uncover technology that can mitigate the aftereffects of a catastrophe.

The Bosai-Tech Open Innovation Challenge, which is led by Sendai City and Fukushima Prefecture, came to fruition after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Sendai City, the political and economic center of the Tohoku, and Fukushima Prefecture, a prefecture located in Tohoku, want to find innovative solutions that can support disaster recovery.

Nine tech companies from across the world will be chosen as winners of the program. Benefits, according to organizers, include: the opportunity to partner with Japanese corporations and high-tech businesses, the chance to visit Sendai and Fukushima, support from JETRO for business expansion in Japan, and Japanese market promotion.

Keith O. Sanders, the assistant director of Business Development at JETRO Houston, encourages startups in North Texas to apply. JETRO is a trade and investment promotion organization funded by the Japanese government.

Startups and established companies that want more information can contact JETRO. Sanders also says you can contact him for more information on the initiative.

Sanders outlined what each firm is looking for with the challenge.

Japanese life insurer Dai-ichi Life wants to help maintain quality of life in case of disaster by assisting citizens in becoming more resilient, providing mental health resources, and monitoring and supporting the elderly.

Mitsui Knowledge Industry is hoping to real-time analyze building damage caused by earthquakes. The IT services company aims to expand its infrastructure capabilities and add new functions that can offer a single disaster prevention solution.

NTT DOCOMO, a mobile phone operator, intends to provide citizens with vital information and instructions before a disaster strikes. It will do so through 5G solutions and social implementation.

And insurance subsidiary Tokio Marine Nichido is going to predict and prepare for a disaster. Its goals are two-fold: collect satellite data and analyze the impact, and assess and mitigate risk.

The challenge is broken up into two parts: the Open Innovation Pitch Event, in which solutions are presented to Japanese corporations via video and online discussion, and the Business Matching Event, which allows businesses to video introduce their concept to Japanese high-tech companies.

To learn more, there are three information sessions on Nov. 26, Nov. 30, and Dec. 3. The application deadline is Dec. 16, with the program kicking off in January or February of 2021. Go here for more.

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