Ambassador Kennedy Recognizes Japanese Entrepreneurs

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy hosted the fourth annual “The Entrepreneur Awards Japan” (TEAJ) ceremony at her Residence on January 29 as part of the U.S. Government’s efforts to promote the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation in Japan, especially in cooperation with U.S. business. Ambassador Kennedy spoke about the vital role that entrepreneurship will play in Japan’s future economic development:

“After only a few months in Japan, I have become keenly aware that Japan’s innovators and entrepreneurs are responsible for much of the economic optimism that is making the news. I’m particularly excited to be here as Japan unlocks a remarkable pool of talented women to create new economic opportunities for their families and for Japanese and global companies more broadly.”

Over 150 guests attended the event, including private-sector business leaders and entrepreneurs, Government of Japan officials, and individuals interested in recognizing and encouraging promising entrepreneurs.

The U.S. Embassy appreciates the support and collaboration of a number of organizations that helped arrange the event, including the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Venture Generation, the British Chamber of Commerce Japan, the Japan Market Expansion Competition, the MIT-Enterprise Forum Japan, the TOMODACHI Initiative, Ernst & Young’s Working Woman Network, DELL/DWEN, UnitedSucces, and IMPACT.

The highlight of the event was the announcement of this year’s award winners, who are as follows:

U.S. Embassy’s Award, Japan
Presented to a Japanese entrepreneur with a risk-embracing spirit

Winner: Mr. Yosuke Tsuji
Company: Money Forward, Inc.
Description: Japan’s largest online financial management service for individuals and small to medium-size businesses wishing to aggregate and analyze financial information based on real-time data from multiple banks and accounts at the same time.

Groundbreakers Award
Presented to an outstanding entrepreneurial woman in Japan

Winner: Ms. Janie G. Ikegami
Company: Shinshu KornuKopia
Description: Located in Nagano Prefecture, Shinshu KornuKopia is the first and only company in Japan to introduce applesauce and apple butter to the Japanese market.

ACCJ Director’s Award
Presented to an entrepreneur with international aspirations

Winner: Ms. Takako Endo
Company: TWHY TWHY Co., Inc.
Description: A retail and wholesale business that produces traditional Japanese “senbei” (rice crackers) with non-traditional, innovative flavors and colors, such as camembert cheese and strawberry-chocolate, to higher-end markets in Japan and overseas.

Venture Generation Award
Presented to an entrepreneur with an early-stage venture expected to have a positive impact on society

Winner: Mr. Yuji Yamamoto
Company: MinaCare Co., Ltd.
Description: A data analytics service for health insurance companies that uses patient claims, health, and medical treatment data to identify customer segments that have the highest-risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases due of a lack of preventative-care practices and funding.

The U.S. Embassy looks forward to continuing our support for entrepreneurship and innovation in Japan.