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Staff Blog

23-07-2018Event ReportInformation Session for the Third Season of the Program Held!

The third season of the APT Women program is finally starting.
On July 23, we held an information session for the third season of the program at Startup Hub Tokyo in Marunouchi, the support center for aspiring entrepreneurs established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Approximately 60 female entrepreneurs in various stages of business participated in the event.

At this event, the secretariat explained the purpose of the program and the features of the third season. We also invited representatives from Enterprise Singapore, a governmental organization which supports startups in Singapore. They shared information with us on business in Singapore, including the latest trends. In addition, we invited the graduates of the first and second seasons of the program, who shared their achievements and what they felt through the program.

From the graduates of the first season of the program, Hitomi Iwaoka, Director of the National Welfare, Beauty and Barber Training Association (NPO), and Fumiko Kawamoto from First Brand, Inc., took to the stage.
They talked about the wonderful results and connections they gained through the program, such as their encounters with the program lecturers, who are famous businesspersons from Japan and overseas, and business partners they met through the New York dispatch program, success in fund raising, and connections with peer participants who continued to give them inspiration even after the program.

From the second season of the program, we had in attendance Mitsuki Bun from Beautiful Smile Co., Ltd., Kae Kusunoki from BEYONDTHEREEF CO., LTD., and Yonggum Kang from Craftie Inc., who were selected for the Silicon Valley dispatch program. In a panel discussion, they shared their thoughts on the program and the goals of their visit to Silicon Valley, which is scheduled in early August. They commented that they had a great opportunity in the program to review their business models based on advice from the accelerators, mentors, and lecturers. They also shared that they had become so close with their peer participants that they even contact each other on a daily basis, which creates mutual motivation to work harder toward the upcoming visit to Silicon Valley. They also gave encouragement to the attendants of the event, urging them to take this opportunity to participate in the third program.

<Graduates of the first season of the program who participated in the information session>
Hitomi Iwaoka, National Welfare, Beauty and Barber Training Association (NPO)


While she was still working as a part-timer at a hair salon, she started to participate in welfare, beauty and barber training activities, which inspired her to establish her own NPO. Holder of a second-grade home helper certificate and a cosmetology license (national qualification). Received the Challenge Award from the Cabinet Office in 2012. Received the Encouragement Award from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare in the 27th Ningen-Ryoku Taisho (literal meaning: respectable person award). Received the Lady Award from crowdfunding platform Readyfor in 2015. She has served as a part-time professor at the Faculty of Business Administration of Aichi Gakuen University since 2012. Author of “Hōmon-Biyō Stāto Bukku” (JOSEI MODE) and “Gan Tōbyōchu No Kami, Hada, Tsume No Sapōto Bukku” (EIJI PRESS).

 

Fumiko Kawamoto, First Brand, Inc.


After studying in the U.K. and graduating from Dokkyo University, she worked for the current Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and for Northwest Airlines as an interpreter and a cabin crew member.
She founded First Brand, Inc. in 2002 with a mission to revitalize rural areas and Japan through the online branding of people, products, and companies.
Currently, the company promotes unique advertising business focused on online brand marketing.
The company also runs Japan’s sole professionals search website linked with various media across Japan, My Best Pro, and the job portal website My Best Job. These websites realize matching between small business owners and SMEs across Japan and local consumers and job hunters.
The company aims to be listed on the stock exchange market with the funds acquired from venture capitals and other companies.

 

<Graduates of the second season of the program who participated in the information session>
Mitsuki Bun, Beautiful Smile Co., Ltd.


After graduating from Doshisha University, she became the first female graduate who obtained a management track position in Nippon Life, where she engaged in financing. After experiencing studying overseas, marriage, and becoming a mother, she started a business from her home in 2001. Her e-commerce website grew into a huge business dealing in 10,000 hair accessories. The website has sold a total of 4.2 million items to date. The website received the MVP Award from Rakuten Ichiba three times, while the chances of winning the award were less than 1%. In 2010, she started a project to collect used hair accessories and donate and sell them to developing countries, while also working on raising funds for scholarships.
She established Beautiful Smile Co., Ltd. in 2015. In April 2018, she launched “Loss Zero,” a platform aimed at reducing food waste.

 

Kae Kusunoki, BEYONDTHEREEF CO., LTD.


She founded BEYONDTHEREEF CO., LTD. in December 2015. With a mission to realize a world where everyone can live out their lives with dignity, the company runs the knitwear brand beyond the reef with women of advanced ages and in various situations. Its corporate motto is: “you can make money with what you love no matter what your age is.” The company aims to tackle aging society, reemployment of female workers, which is often difficult, and other social issues; it uses the fashion brand as a tool to highlight, share, and solve such social issues. The company opened a combined atelier and shop in July 2018.

 

Yonggum Kang, Craftie Inc.


Craftie Inc. runs the art and craft workshop reservation website Craftie. The website provides local communities with various creative workshops that make people’s lives richer. The number of registered workshops, which are mainly from Tokyo, has reached more than 750. The company helps create rich local communities by realizing matching among teachers pursuing their passions, brands, retailers, and rental property management companies.