UKTI unveils Japan-UK Tech Awards, looking to help startups expand to Europe


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See the original story in Japanese.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) announced on Tuesday that it has launched a competition called Japan-UK Tech Awards to bring promising Japanese startups to the UK.  The competition is in partnership with NTT Docomo Ventures and Deloitte’s Tohmatsu Venture Support.

The competition is for Japanese startups that want to expand into the UK and other European countries.

Applicant startups must:

  • Have been running their business in Tokyo for three years or more.
  • Have four or more employees.
  • Have a service or product that they can market.
  • Submit an application and a three to five page plan on how they will market their product or service in the UK.

Applications will be screened by five judges from Japan and the UK, and UKTI will announce the finalists in December. The following awards will be given out:

  • Complimentary accommodation for five nights in London and complimentary flights by British Airways (scheduled in March 2015).
  • Lunch with Tim Hitchens, the UK ambassador to Japan.
  • Complimentary one-month membership to London-based incubator The Bakery

Lord Livingston, the minister of UKTI, visited Tokyo last week to announce the competition. At a news conference, he said that the UK’s ratio of the Internet economy to GDP is the highest in the world and people in the UK commonly use e-commerce sites to do their shopping. He invited Japanese startups to be a part of TechCity, a startup community in London.

Nobuyuki Akimoto, vice president of NTT Docomo Ventures, said they began investing in the UK in October 2013, by investing in CertiVox, a startup based in London that has been developing a password-less authentication system. He expects Japanese startups to leverage this opportunity to find a path to global markets rather than through Silicon Valley.

The application deadline is 10 December. Visit their website for more details.

At a press briefing of the Japan-UK Tech Awards competition in Tokyo on Tuesday.
L to R: Masayuki Kimura (Deloitte’s Tohmatsu Venture Support), Lord Livingston (Minister, UK Trade & Investment), Tim Hitchens (UK ambassador to Japan), and Nobuyuki Akimoto (Vice President, NTT Docomo Ventures)