Global Tech EDGE NEXT (EDGE NEXT) is a consortium whose goal is to cultivate entrepreneurs through global-scale academic, industrial and government collaboration. The University of Tokyo is the principal institution and leader of the consortium and project, with the University of Tsukuba, Shizuoka University and Ochanomizu University as collaborating institutions. In addition to this core consortium, the undertaking includes participants from national research institutes and companies, enabling diversified teams to rise to the challenges of numerous social issues rooted in technology.
The project has three stages: the basic stage, the development stage and the action stage. During the basic stage, undergraduate students are recruited to increase the number of individuals with an interest in entrepreneurship. In the development stage, mentoring is the focus, with the goal being to raise basic skills through team exercises and other approaches. During the action stage, selected teams are assigned to work through market studies to elevate business plans to the investment level.
The basic and development stages are implemented through the distinctive characteristics of the individual member universities, while the action stage integrates the results of the first two stages to produce a fruitful collaboration.
At Ochanomizu University, our Road to Entrepreneurship vision follows a three-phase development stage program: introductory level (lectures primarily targeting undergraduates); business plan level (business plan preparation, announcement and contest submissions based on group work); and the venture level (preparation of business plans hypothesizing specific companies, technologies and products, targeting graduate students). Joining with project participants from other universities and the business community, the goal for individuals in this particular program is to generate business activity sourced from a women’s university.
Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology supports the next-generation entrepreneur cultivation project known as EDGE NEXT (Exploration and Development of Global Entrepreneurship for the NEXT generation). The project is grounded in the achievements, issues and other output of entrepreneur-focused education offered by universities involved in this project’s forerunner, the EDGE Program, as well as by numerous other universities. The research and development achievements of universities and other participants serve as the foundation for cultivating human resources to meet the challenges of corporate startups and new business creation, as well as in building a venture ecosystem with individual and institutional stakeholders onboard.
More specifically, project implementation focuses on fostering creative ideas and building business models among groups comprised primarily of undergraduate students, specialized graduate students and young researchers. This platform supports endeavors that emphasize practical contents that will inspire participants to propose and create meaningful industrial structural reform.