Ambassador Roos Recognizes Promising Entrepreneurs

Nov. 16 - Ambassador John V. Roos awarded the U.S. Ambassador's Award for Entrepreneurship to Ms. Naoko Tajima, who started an online, short-term home/apartment rental marketplace venture tailored to the Japanese market:

The U.S. Ambassador's Award was one of a suite of awards presented at the third annual "The Entrepreneur Awards Japan" (TEAJ) ceremony at the Ambassador's official residence on Nov. 14. The following awards were also announced:

U.S. Ambassador's Award
(Presented to a Japanese entrepreneur with a risk-embracing spirit)

Winner: Ms. Naoko Tajima
Description of Business: An online, short-term social home/apartment rental marketplace tailored to the Japanese market

Groundbreakers Award
(Presented to an outstanding entrepreneurial woman in Japan)

Winner: Ms. Akiko Nishiura
Company: Nokisaki
Description of Business: An online service to locate, reserve, and rent unused parking spaces in Tokyo and other cities across Japan

ACCJ Director's Award
(Presented to an entrepreneur with international aspirations)

Winner: Mr. John Martyn
Company: Language Cloud
Description of Business: A cloud-based language learning management platform for students and teachers

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

Winner: Mr. Takashi Fujimoto
Company: In the Street
Description of Business: An online social marketplace for offline teaching services

Ambassador Roos congratulated all the participants for their willingness to take risks and follow their dreams. He also highlighted three recommendations recently made by the U.S.-Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council: to celebrate entrepreneurs, encourage mentoring, and ensure the free flow of information, ideas and talent across borders.

In addition to receiving the awards, the four winners were matched with experienced entrepreneurs as mentors for a six-month collaboration designed to sharpen the entrepreneurs' management skills and business plans, as part of the Entrepreneur Mentoring Initiative.

The Embassy collaborated with a number of organizations to arrange the event, including the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, IMPACT Japan, the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, the British Council, the MIT-Enterprise Forum Japan, Japan Market Expansion Competition, Venture Generation, the U.S.-Japan Council and the TOMODACHI Tohoku Challenge Program, J-Seed Ventures, and 5ive Planets.

The 2010 winner of the U.S. Ambassador's Award was Ms. Reina Otsuka, founder of Eco+Waza, a magazine and online resource for healthy green lifestyle ideas and products from Japan. The 2011 winner was Mr. Chikahiro Terada, founder of San San Inc., who developed a new approach to organizing business cards online.