Startup Frontier HOKKAIDO

In Sapporo’s vibrant hub, the SAPPORO Incubation Hub DRIVE, I met Miho Tanaka, linking startups to government. With tailored visa programs and a synergy between academia and industry, Hokkaido stands as a fertile ground for entrepreneurial dreams.
October 3, 2023

SAPPORO Incubation Hub DRIVE

I had the pleasure of meeting Miho Tanaka, the lead of the startup visa initiative at the SAPPORO Incubation Hub DRIVE in the picturesque city of Sapporo, Japan, yesterday. Miho plays a crucial role in connecting governmental initiatives with founders, helping them navigate the immigration process from the early stages of incorporation to the end.

International Startup Ecosystem

Central to this ecosystem is the Startup Frontier HOKKAIDO initiative, aimed at welcoming international seed startups. Hokkaido offers two unique startup visas – a standard 1-year startup visa and a specialized 2-year visa for graduates of Hokkaido University.

The process for obtaining the 1-year Startup Visa involves submitting and finalizing business plans to the desired city or prefecture. There’s a particular focus on businesses that stimulate growth in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, and high-value manufacturing industries.

One of the key pillars of Hokkaido’s innovation scene is the strong industry-academia collaboration. This alliance of universities and research institutes has sparked the creation of 79 startups.

Recognizing the need for seed financing for early-stage startups, Sapporo City has established a GAP fund and a regional fund specializing in healthcare and biotechnology.

From Visas to Visions: Hokkaido’s Entrepreneurial Landscape

All in all, my meeting with Miho Tanaka and the visit to the SAPPORO Incubation Hub DRIVE was a deep dive into the thriving startup culture of Hokkaido. The combination of creative spaces, supportive governmental initiatives, and crucial seed funding forms an ideal breeding ground for startups to grow and thrive.

📣 A special THANK YOU to Sajjad Kamal Shuvro, PhD for hosting me during my visit in Sapporo. Sajjad is also the founder and CTO of FLOATMEAL, with an aim to provide highly nutritious plant protein to the world while securing greater revenue and better farming conditions for farmers.


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