Leaders September 2014

Snapshots from the BCCJ ecosystem

Stepping up to perform and meet new challenges

At the beginning of last month we were visited by the CEO of the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, Sara Williams.

At this meeting, British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) President David Bickle and I learned how small British firms delivered products and services for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

One example is a cottage industry firm that turbo-charged production to make commemorative cushions for every competing Olympian and Paralympian.

These stories of talent and entrepreneurship give an additional layer of meaning to the Games, and can be of value to businesses from all countries on the road to Tokyo 2020.

Excitement in the air was palpable on the evening of 4 August at the Keio Plaza Tokyo hotel in Shinjuku, as the BCCJ welcomed a recent cohort of participants from the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme.

Seeing these 900 motivated young people—including 155 Brits—ready to head off to schools and boards of education across the country, I was reminded of this extraordinary and under-utilised talent pipeline.

Many participants emerge with an enviable grasp of Japanese, although they are unsure what career path to take next. We are working with the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations, which runs JET, to explore ways in which BCCJ member firms can support participants after the programme.

In that vein, this month we welcome three new interns to the BCCJ office. It’s exciting to bring young minds into our organisation, sharing with them the workings of a fast-paced business environment, and seeking their feedback on how things can be improved.

Stiff competition
The 7th annual British Business Awards (BBA) will be held on 14 November at the Hilton Tokyo, Shinjuku. Six trophies will be handed out by British Ambassador to Japan Tim Hitchens CMG LVO, to firms and individuals with outstanding achievements over the past 12 months.

So far, we have received most interest in the categories of UK–Japan Partnership and Community Contribution. Remember to nominate the firms and individuals you most admire by 5pm on 31 October.

Embracing diversity
Looking ahead, I will deliver a keynote speech at “Ignite”, the 18th career strategies seminar to be hosted by BCCJ entrepreneur member For Empowering Women in Japan on 3 October.

Attendees can engage with speakers and other participants from truly diverse backgrounds and explore a range of professional and personal topics.

Providing support
Finally, we will hold our first BCCJ community hub event on 9 October at SuperDeluxe in Tokyo. Powered by PechaKucha, a fast-paced presentation style, the event will feature six of our closest community partners.

Do come along to find out more about these organisations and how you can help.