Aichi Small Business Support Center

Aichi Small Business Support Center

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Toshio Asai

Have you thought about starting off a new business in Japan, particularly in the Aichi area? As you are probably aware, there is a level of bureaucracy to negotiate that is probably very alien to most gaikokujin; applications, registrations, lawyers and accountants, city, prefecture and national regulations; all this just to get to your business off the ground. Or for those who are already in business, and looking for ways to connect and work together with local suppliers, there are again difficulties in making connections and the negotiations that ensue.

Here is a unique and useful service for the small business entrepreneur. The Aichi Small Business Support Center (AIBSC) is tasked with welcoming new business into the Aichi area, and supporting local small businesses for offshore expansion.  AIBSC offers various services for small businesses in this region.  AIBSC supports new enterprises that are aiming to establish a company in Aichi prefecture. For those planning to open up a new business in Aichi, AIBSC can provide office space in downtown Nagoya, as well as financial support. AIBSC offers interest free loans to new enterprises.

AIBSC also supplies business matching services with/between local suppliers and potential buyers.  As it is known, many big manufactures are with requisite support from many small companies, and there are uncountable numbers of such small companies particularly shown in Japanese business model. However, typically small companies are not as skilled as those big companies in business matching, marketing, or PR activity due to lack of experts or time. 

So the idea here is that AIBSC should match up small companies with potential future business partners. This way, the small manufacturers, that do not have as wide a broadcast antenna as the giant corporations, can reach a greater market than if they did it on their own. Due to this service, Aichi’s small business operators can develop stronger business connections through meeting with new business partners, within the local area and abroad, in order to develop a more robust, resilient Aichi economic base.

For this region, perhaps the biggest handicap is the lack of brand recognition globally. Tokyo? Osaka? Yokohama? These are global brand names. Toyota? Nippon Denso? Brother? Likewise. Nagoya? Aichi? Tokai? Chubu? Even with the Aichi Expo, the brand has a long way to go. Yet this region produces some 70% of Japan’s trade surplus. In fact there are many corporations that export their products from Aichi to every part of the world, such as car manufacturers. Connecting local companies, locally and globally, will help to invigorate the local market, to the point that local small businesses will have the confidence, the financial support and the know-how to foot it on the international stage, despite the language barrier. For those who are not already exporting, but are planning to do so, AIBSC is producing a range of seminars about international business. These seminars range from basic to technical information about global trading, reviewing opportunities and restrictions country to country. During these seminars experts in various regions and industries will be invited to speak and share their knowledge. In the AIBSC building, there is a special desk for “International Business Consulting” focused on trade relationships with China and Vietnam, and specialists are available to provide feedback on your business plan.

In addition to the above, there is a range of different seminars throughout the year; anyone may participate. These are valuable not just from what you may learn at the seminar, but also for the business contacts you can make over ocha.  The majority are free, although some may have a small cover charge, so please feel free to join or send your staff to a seminar. There are also large conference rooms available for businesses to use when holding presentations, conferences or meetings, as well as a database of Aichi companies who already have dealings with offshore businesses.

If you are in business in Aichi, or are planning to do so, please do not hesitate to drop in. It is your taxes that are funding this, so make the most of it.

Note: while AIBSC strives to support all local entrepreneurs, services are available in Japanese only.