Feature Article December 2009 / January 2010

2009 British Business Awards

Categories / Winners:
Corporate Innovation – Creatively used innovation in products or in services to achieve success in Japan

Winner: Intralink KK

Best Entrepreneur — Individual or SME who, driven by the spirit of entrepreneurship, has successfully brought products or services to the Japanese market
Winner: Richard Bysouth, CareerCross

Best Local CSR Initiative — Successfully implemented locally generated CSR initiatives that have contributed to the community
Winner: Refugees International Japan

Corporate Excellence — Strong and solid reputation based on overall excellence in Japan
Winner: Oxford Instruments KK[/greybox]

It may have been a testing 12 months for firms large and small everywhere, but the BCCJ’s 2009 British Business Awards gala dinner on 26 November underlined the excellence in the UK business community here.

The awards were presented by British Ambassador David Warren during the gala dinner held at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo. The Ambassador praised the firms that have weathered the global economic storm and continue to build on the relationship between the UK and Japan. “I have a wonderful sense of being among friends and of having a common purpose of being together”, the Ambassador said.

“This has been a really tough year, but we are here to celebrate some of the outstanding companies and organisations that have established themselves in the Japanese market.

“Looking back on the year since I have been in Japan, the reality is that we in the Embassy have never been busier in promoting British businesses in Japan and not a week goes by without us seeking to help British companies coming here”.

The Ambassador emphasised the importance that London places on the bilateral business relationship.

“With the advent of a new government in Japan, we are seeing in Britain a re-emergence of interest in what is happening here and a fascination with what might develop here over the next few years.

“And I feel that the Chamber — which has done so much to build so many relationships — should also be proud of all that it has achieved. It has helped hundreds of companies build into the Japanese market”.

Representatives of the four winners then stepped forward to receive the elegant awards, sculpted from Italian marble by Scottish artist Kate Thomson.

Corporate Innovation: Intralink KK

“Because it has succeeded in Japan as a result of its dynamic and innovative business model that has also enabled several other British companies to enter and flourish in the Japanese market”, the Ambassador read from the official citation.

Intralink President Steven Shipley accepted the award. The Ambassador said the judges had made the award after concluding that Intralink’s business “exemplifies corporate innovation in its ability to adapt a range of pre- and post-market entry services, including opportunity assessments, partner selection and liaison office services, to British companies seeking entry into Japan”.

Best Entrepreneur: Richard Bysouth

“Richard’s story and his development of CareerCross is an impressive example of a British entrepreneur achieving success in Japan. With little experience and virtually no capital, Richard saw opportunity in the advent of online recruitment and the relatively inactive bilingual recruitment market in Japan in the late 1990s, and developed a highly successful business that is relied upon by many of the big names in recruitment”.

Best Local CSR Initiative: Refugees International Japan

Presenting the award to RIJ Secretary to the Board Susan Gittins, the Ambassador praised RIJ for its “impressive legacy in Japan of more than 30 years’ continued operation — a remarkable feat considering it survives solely on private donations.

“The judges note that RIJ was not selected because of its mission of raising funds in Japan for targeted projects overseas that directly assist refugees or those internally displaced by conflict — although RIJ’s work in this regard is a tremendous example of social responsibility.

“The judges chose RIJ as best local CSR initiative not only because it sets an excellent example as a socially responsible corporation — under its CEO, British citizen Jane Best — but also in recognition of how RIJ has managed to generate CSR practice in Japan in its impressive engagement of both big and small corporations through its dynamic local fund raising and refugee advocacy initiatives”.

(see page 33 for RIJ report)

Corporate Excellence: Oxford Instruments KK

The Ambassador said the winner had been selected by the judges from a number of impressive nominations for demonstrating corporate excellence and for its “enduring and committed investment in Japan since the 1960s, and its ability to generate market dependency on a number of its technologies in Japan.

“The judges were particularly impressed with Oxford Instruments’ commitment to promoting scientific exchange between the UK and Japan, not only through strategic partnerships with Japanese companies, but also through the work of Oxford Instruments’ Millennium Science Forum and its annual Sir Martin Wood Prize, awarded to young scientists who have performed outstanding and original research at a Japanese university or research institute in the field of condensed matter science”.

BCCJ President Andrew Mankiewicz thanked the event’s sponsors before expressing his gratitude to BCCJ Members and the British Embassy for their support over the past 12 turbulent months.

While others may be cutting back on their commitment to Japan, said Mr. Mankiewicz, “These awards recognise the best of British business in Japan and demonstrate that, despite the hard times, we are here for the long haul”.

[greybox]Artist Kate Thomson explains Spring, the sculptures she made exclusively for the winners of the 2009 British Business Awards: “Spring is an abstract form designed to explore our relationship with our environment and each other. Spring means the season of renewed life — ‘a point at which water issues forth from the earth’.
The sculpture gives tangible form to the delicate balance of life: the partnerships of water and light, and between people. It looks like a plant, reaching to the sun for growth, and simultaneously conjures the shimmering fountain of life. The stepped movement also indicates a journey.
Stone represents permanence and tradition; contemporary design represents innovation; light represents ideas and inspiration, changing light represents time and life cycles and highlights different perceptions. I hope my sculpture will provide a sense of celebration and anticipate continuing development through mutual understanding and appreciation”.[/greybox]

[greybox]BCCJ thanks the 2009 British Business Awards Sponsors

  • ANA InterContinental Tokyo
  • Berry Bros. & Rudd
  • Dunhill
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  • Jaguar Land Rover Japan Limited
  • UK Trade & Investment
  • Whisk-e