1st Program Participants Voice
Willmore INC.Mayu Ishikawa
Development of "Allergy Checker," a smartphone application for searching food allergen information.
Through the lectures given by experts with different experiences, I discovered many new things and I also gained insights into the future. There are not so many female entrepreneurs even today, but the program gave me an opportunity to interact with some of them. Through that, I could share information with people who are in similar situations and I could also gain objective perspectives. I found such opportunities very meaningful for business management.
ZEST INC.Yukiko Ito
Provision of "ShareONE," a human resources sharing platform.
I became the first female programmer 35 years ago and started an IT company 30 years ago. I had lived in a time and an industry which were said to be tough for women to live in. It was a miracle for me to meet the people that I had always longed to see, one after another in such an easy manner, through participation in the APT Women program. I am now in Silicon Valley thanks to the people that I was introduced to during the lecture by Dr. Kuno. Miracles happen if you ask for them! Another precious fruit of the program is that I met lifetime friends whom I can talk with not only about challenges unique to female entrepreneurs, but anything at all.
Specified Nonprofit Organization National Welfare Beauty and Barber Training AssociationHitomi Iwaoka
Appearance care service for cancer patients suffering change in their appearance.
This program accelerated our plan to expand the Appearance Support Center Aichi, a project we were operating in Nagoya, to Tokyo. We opened a Tokyo branch after only six months.
The issues we had in scaling up the project were solved by working with an accelerator, obtaining support from the program staff, identifying the projects of our focus, and polishing our business model. In order to maintain activities that have social impact as a business-type NPO, we think it is important to collaborate beyond the boundaries of sectors. Starting from Tokyo, we intend to seek new opportunities across the nation and beyond national borders and generations.
Business of "popupdress," a new concept in dress wear.
My purposes for participating in the APT Women program included to gain a new perspective on management, to learn about management in general, and to meet other female business owners. I am really grateful for such a great opportunity to get a glimpse into the thoughtfulness, wittiness, vision and vitality of female entrepreneurs in different fields from both Japan and the US who I got to meet through the program. Also, I found the American business development method that I learned about during the project very reasonable and easy to understand. It was a unique experience for me to visit New York and learn about their positive mindsets, specifically, always knowing that there is another way even if you fail, and about the potential of global markets.
Be&Do Inc.Kazume Iwami
Development and sale of "Habi*do," a web application tool visualizing and reinforcing team engagement.
There were two major benefits for our company from the APT Women program. The first is that I got to meet fellow female entrepreneurs. “Fellowship” is the most suitable way to describe my relationship with them as we can even talk about such issues as financing. The second is that I got to meet my mentor Mr. Hongo, who is the CEO of Startia. I had been having a hard time finding an effective way to pitch our services, and he gave me great advice on that topic through mentoring. He helped to clear my confusion and to set clearer business policies.
Priroda.INC. /Japanese Agriculture CompanyChiaki Onishi
Activities for agribusiness revitalization (so-called "6th industry") and research relating to chemical-free vegetables.
I was four-months pregnant with a baby, my second child, on the day of the kickoff ceremony of the APT Women program. I started my company when I was twenty and I had been in business for almost eight years, but it was the first time for me to participate in this kind of program. Although I was not sure how much I could learn from the program at first, I had opportunities to attend lectures on management, which I had always wanted to attend but didn’t have any opportunity for. I also had opportunities to receive advice from my mentors about various topics from trademarks and other practical issues to distribution methods, which I applied to my business. I also had business meetings with companies to which I was introduced by people that I met through the program. The visit to New York gave me a chance to grow significantly through discovering marketing methods that are not seen in Japan and the strengths of the Japanese methods, making an English presentation for the first time, and building friendships and having conversations with my fellow female business owners.
Institute WheeLogYuriko Oda
Development and management of "WheeLog!", a user-generated smartphone application for sharing barrier-free facilities information.
At first, I felt that I was out of place because all of the other members looked “on fleek,” but then I came to know that they were also struggling with distress that could not be easily seen from outside or that they kept to themselves, which inspired me to work harder together with them. It was also a great opportunity for me to hear opinions from people from different fields.
In addition, as a result of working hard on my English presentation, I gained great confidence for my speech at the Vienna UN Conference and I am also receiving more and more invitations from overseas.
To be honest, the program was really tough, but I’m glad I didn’t quit halfway. Although I myself have a lot of challenges, as I am in a wheelchair and fighting against an intractable disease while raising a kid, I am willing to face those challenges using what I learned from this program.
First Brand inc.Fumiko Kawamoto
Provision of "My Best Pro," a platform for matching businesses and domestic/international customers.
First of all, I would like to say thank you to the people from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support. The APT Women program provided me with connections with people and opportunities, which I didn’t even imagine, through domestic training and a visit to New York. I also saw results way greater than I expected, such as investment from a company and collaboration with local companies and newspapers during my stay in New York where we developed a new advertisement service together. I learned a great lesson through these experiences, that is, you can definitely make your dreams come true as long as you pursue them without fearing failure. I would like to fully utilize these experiences so that I can develop a company that contributes to the world.
NGLE LLC.Yukino Goya
Planning and sale of cosmetic products connected to sustainable society.
In short, APT Women is a platform for motivated female entrepreneurs from across Japan where they can challenge each other and grow together. I could say I used to neglect the need to improve myself before as I was too focused on growing my business. It was not until I actually started the program that I found out that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government was a merciless Spartan trainer. (I’m kidding.) But now we have completed the program and I am so proud of myself and all other members who made it. I am so excited when I think about how far we will go in the future. I hope more female entrepreneurs will join us to push forward women’s social participation.
Fermenstation Co., Ltd.Rina Sakai
Community recycling initiative for producing ethanol from unused resources.
The things I learned through the APT Women program are as follows.
1. Through making a presentation and getting feedback in New York, I could gain understanding of the marketability, potential and strengths of our business. I have also received an invitation for a trade show and some stores have offered to add our products to their lineups.
2. I became friends with people with whom I can frankly talk about financing, staffing, strategic concepts, balance with personal life, and support systems, regardless of the difference in the fields of business.
3. An external mentor also gave me helpful guidance.
4. Above all, my fellow entrepreneurs from Japan and New York, brave people who are not afraid of challenges, inspired me to be stronger and more determined to scale up my business in the future, which was the most phenomenal achievement through the program.
Tablecross Inc.Kaoru Joho
Provision of "Tablecross," a restaurant reservation application enabling social contribution.
I am very grateful that I got to meet so many wonderful people through APT Women. As the youngest member, I had a great time meeting many people and learning a lot. One of the biggest things I learned was that I was not the only one who was struggling with optimal business management. It was the beginning of my fourth quarter and I had not met any female business owners that I could connect with. At the time, what worried me most was my lack of knowledge and experience. But after I talked with my fellow female business owners in an honest and relaxed atmosphere, I was relieved to know that everyone was also struggling like me, and it even became fun to struggle. It was a real breakthrough for me that I could have such an opportunity.
Zubitsjapan Co., Ltd.Ai Shirakawa
Sale of "Zubits," a magnetic shoe closure enabling easy taking off and putting on of shoes.
Looking back at the APT Women program, the best part of it was the encounters with all the people who were involved in it.
I forced myself to make time to face myself and I changed significantly through such time. It made me rediscover my own story as to what I wanted to achieve through my business and how I decided to start it, which I had forgotten as I was too focused on increasing sales.
I was able to keep a positive attitude, and so were the people who surrounded me. These three months were filled with a powerful atmosphere that I think would help us to scale up our businesses.
Thank you so much.
Vitaly IncNami Suzuki
Online service based on Fashiontech×Fintech.
Since I had never worked at someone else’s company since I graduated from university, I had done everything concerning my business in my own way. Since I never had “seniors” throughout my career, it was a treasurable experience for me to get connected with rare female business owners and working women who are ahead of me on the path. I don’t think it is hard to start a business because you are a woman. If you can think of a service that you wish to be there, you can start your own business regardless of your gender. I would like to thank all the staff who supported the program from various aspects.
OPTIMUS Inc.Kazumi Takao
Manufacturing and sale of "Optimus" series, a next-generation photocatalyst paint developed by an industry-government-academia collaboration initiative.
As I’m aiming to develop a global brand, I benefited a lot from the visit to New York, such as having an opportunity to interact with overseas female entrepreneurs and professionals from different fields, who were introduced to us by the New York City Government, as well as an opportunity to try making a presentation in English. A famous architect whom I visited in New York has decided to use our OPTIMUS interior paint for his new studio gallery, which assured me of the marketability of my products in New York and further raised my motivation for expanding my business there. Above all, the best part of the program was that I got to meet fellow business owners who were pursuing their dreams. It gave me great strength.
Stroly Inc.Machi Takahashi
Provision of "Stroly," a map sharing service introducing attractive places.
Our company develops and manages Stroly, an online mapping platform to share various perspectives on the world.
I gained new perspectives through participation in the APT Women program and the network of female entrepreneurs. In particular, the lecture by Dr. Kuno told me how a vision should be positioned. Getting to meet a role model like her gave me a lot of inspiration.
When I visited New York, I had a chance to meet people from the Department of City Planning, the Office of the Mayor, and NYC Open Data, which all belong to the City of New York, with whom I could discuss the uses and potentials of maps.
I was also able to grow a strong bond with my fellow members. This program gave me so much more than I expected.
KIDSLINE Inc.Kahoko Tsunezawa
Provision of "KIDSLINE," a safe and secure service enabling 24-hour babysitter reservations using a smartphone.
I have done an IPO in Japan, but I was still in the intelligence phase as to expanding my business overseas. After my business was accepted by the APT Women program, I learned a lot through weekly lectures and was greatly inspired by other female entrepreneurs in different fields at different stages. I will fully utilize the American business philosophies and presentation techniques that I learned from the lectures for expanding my business overseas in the future.
All of the mentoring sessions with accelerators from the organizer, Deloitte Tohmatsu, were very helpful as I could share issues that I had struggled with alone with the experts, hear their advice, and clarify my view, goals and vision.
Planning and sale of original headscarf products for women who have lost hair.
The most wonderful thing I experienced through the APT Women program was the encounters with my fellow members who are passionate and unique.
I will spare my comments on individual members, but I met so many people who cleared up my view in such a way that I almost wanted to shout.
I’m so excited about how my fellow members will grow further and I’m also excited to keep working hard while encouraging each other into the future.
AVOIR INTERNATIONAL CO. LTD.Mayumi Nakamura
Development and sales of fashionable and functional underwear for breast cancer patients.
The APT Women program had extensive contents. However, it was physically tough for me to attend so many lectures, which also included English lectures and evening classes, as I lived very far away and I had to return home on the last flight.
Now, I'm working with one of the mentor companies to prepare for crowdfunding. I’m also planning to visit New York to develop distribution channels with a local coordinator—who is a breast cancer patient—that I got to know through the program.
Carry On Inc.Maki Nagamori
Business of "CarryOn," an online platform for mothers to reuse children’s clothing.
I have participated in many pitching events, but the past three months were the period in which I faced my business model most intensely. I had to face the difficulty of making a presentation to third persons in a second language and the fact that I would never be able to convey the strengths of my business to anyone unless I navigate it successfully. Why did I start my business when no one asked me to? What did I want to do with my business and how did I want to live my life? The vision for growth which had been vague became so clear through the program; it was like I was awakened. I feel that I have completely changed from the way I was before the program.
FITTIN Co., Ltd.Yumiko Honma
Provision of "FITTIN," an online women underwear fitting service.
Through the lectures of the APT Women program, I also gained a lot of academic knowledge, which I lacked as I had learned management on my own, and more raw and practical information like what the situation for overseas startups looks like.
Beside the lectures, I was also inspired by other female business owners, who all have a strong drive and great perspectives, through sharing information with them and seeing and hearing about their management styles.