Asian tech startups to compete for the 11th AEA 2022 Innovation Award

The Asian Entrepreneurship Award Steering Committee announced that it will hold the Asian Entrepreneurship Award 2022 event (AEA 2022) online from Wednesday, October 26th to Thursday, October 27th. Now in their 11th year, the Asian Entrepreneurship Awards recognize and reward innovation among emerging entrepreneurs and tech startups in Asia.

What can we look forward to at the AEA 2022?

The AEA 2022 will bring together 24 selected startups from across Asia providing solutions in the areas of Healthcare, Work & Life style, and Sustainability, all of which have become key issues. During the event, the startups will deliver presentations showcasing their services and products, with the winners being selected on the basis of a wide range of criteria.

These will include innovativeness, the social and economic impact of their products and services, their commercial viability, the potential for collaboration with Japanese firms, and the opportunity for expansion in Japan. In addition, the Social Business Session will be held at the same time, where startups that follow the Seven Principles of Social Business proposed by Dr. Muhammad Yunus will competitively share business ideas for solving social problems.

Also, Iwao Yoshino, CEO of Microwave Chemical Co., Ltd., which was newly listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Growth Market in June 2022, will give a special speech on the 27th.

Approved tech startups to receive 1.5 months of mentoring sessions

Since its launch in 2012, AEA has provided a stage for promising entrepreneurs and startups from rapidly growing countries and regions in Asia on which they can showcase business ideas and technologies aimed at addressing social issues. To date, a total of 247 tech startups from 16 countries and regions across greater Asia have participated in AEA events.

All entrants were nominated by key notable institutions like the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the University of Tokyo, and by incubators, accelerators, universities, and other institutions supporting start-up firms in their respective countries.

Requiring participants to be willing to enter the Japanese market or collaborate with Japanese firms, AEA provides close support by matching participating startups with Japanese firms.

The AEA 2022 event will feature initiatives to accelerate collaboration between Japanese firms and participating startups. One of such initiatives is to provide mentoring sessions by a team of mentors from venture capital firms and accelerators in Japan during the 1.5 months leading up to the event. This is expected to help entrants acquire a better understanding of the market and facilitate their collaboration with prospective Japanese partners.

Also, matchmaking and online interviews between participating startups and Japanese companies will be promoted in various ways, such as by encouraging participating companies, sponsors, nominators, and others to freely communicate with one another using the Slack communication platform, as AEA 2021 participants did. In addition, the capital limit, one of the entry requirements, has been raised from 1 million US dollars to 3 million.

This reflects the higher investment amounts in recent years for seed and early-stage startups, and it is hoped that the AEA will attract companies with better management structures, leading to more concrete business partnerships with Japanese companies.

Social Business Session for solving social problems through business

The Social Business Session based on the Seven Principles of Social Business proposed by Dr. Muhammad Yunus is being newly held this year, and 4 firms have been selected to participate.

Dr. Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 along with Grameen Bank for their contributions to alleviating poverty and promoting peace in Bangladesh through the founding of the Grameen Bank, to provide microcredits to the poor to help them become self-reliant.

Today, he continues to advocate social business to solve social issues through business, putting it into practice with many organizations. AEA, in cooperation with Yunus, Japan will also judge the business ideas of startups based on the Seven Principles of Social Business.

AEA participating companies invited to ILS online matching event

The Innovation Leaders Summit (ILS), launched under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry with the aim of creating global innovation by matching the assets of major companies with the ideas and tech of startups, is one of the largest open innovation conference in Asia, attended by 700 startups and over 100 major Japanese firms.

Starting this year, the 247 companies that have participated in AEA in the past will be invited to participate in Innovation Leaders Summit’s online matching event to continue supporting startups’ entry into the Japanese market. For more details, please visit the website.