Training July 2014

business plan to enter and expand in japan

JMEC 20 a hit with participants and clients

  • Oral presentations much better than years past
  • Participants provided useful perspective on industry issues
  • Helps develop cross-cultural business skills and know-how

The results are in for this year’s Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC), a non-profit training programme, and it was nearly too close to call, said the judges at the 20th awards ceremony. JMEC invites young professionals from all sectors to come together in small teams and deliver business plans for firms entering or expanding in the Japanese market.

This year, 66 participants from 15 countries analysed market opportunities for project clients ranging from small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs to global firms.

Team “Don’t Give Up” won the competition with a plan for Tektronix Communications, and was awarded tablet computers from Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.

The second-place winners, who received return air tickets from British Airways, was “Sixth Sense” with a plan for Fusion Systems.

Team “5*s”, in third place, created a plan for McGill University’s MBA Japan programme and won domestic air tickets from Jetstar Japan Co., Ltd.

“The standard of oral presentations moved up a significant notch this year”, Philip T Gibb OBE, one of three JMEC 20 judges and president emeritus of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, told BCCJ ACUMEN.

“Several of the written plans were among the highest quality in the history of the competition. One big difference this year was the quality of the market research undertaken by each team. Every client company will have solid useable data that can be utilised immediately”.

Founded in 1993 by the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan, JMEC aims to foster the development of foreign business nationwide, and has to date provided about 190 business plans. It is supported by 17 foreign chambers of commerce in Japan, as well as a host of sponsors.

Project clients, judges and sponsors praised the ability of participants to deliver new and insightful perspectives to long-standing industry issues, thanks to their varied professional and educational experiences.

Jonathan Brunner, regional commercial manager of JMEC 20 platinum sponsor British Airways, said, “The great thing about JMEC is that it showcases the talent that exists here in Japan and links it to businesses to provide a fresh, dynamic and enthusiastic dimension to their commercial challenges”.

Mike Ropicky, Asia–Pacific president of Tektronix, agreed the experience had been an enlightening one, as the team had clearly identified the key concerns for his business, despite a lack of experience in the sector.

Jeff Streeter, director of the British Council Japan, another project client, was attracted to the programme by what he saw the participants could achieve, for themselves and for clients.

“[JMEC is] a great scheme for developing cross-cultural business skills—exactly what Japan needs at the moment”, Streeter said.

And the benefits of the programme are not limited to project clients either. JMEC aims to strengthen the skills of young business executives through a series of lectures and workshops, support from consultants and mentors, and the development of clients’ business plans. The combination of instruction and hands on work is a strong selling point.

“JMEC remains, in my opinion, the best practical business training and learning experience”, said Gibb. “And what makes it even more remarkable is that all those taking part had to do [the work for the JMEC competition] in addition to their regular jobs”.

Participants of the competition, too, were united in their belief that it had been an incredibly rewarding and worthwhile experience, even though it had not been easy.

“Figuratively, our team climbed Mt Fuji without the benefit of any roads or trails”, Jonathan Monsanto, of team Don’t Give Up, said. “Remembering the struggle and all of the doubt, I look now at what we accomplished with amazement and intense pride”.