#Series 32
“Is Asia still good for entrepreneurs? Let us hear from Toru Tokushige, founder of Terra-Motors”

VIDEO: Opening (Part 1)

In the first 4 minutes or so, I welcomed the participants and asked participants to pick the country in Asia to start their business or to work and shared their choice with their neighbors.

After we discussed briefly about the choice, I introduced Toru Tokushige, our special guest.

5 minutes into the Opening video, Toru Tokushige explained his rather unconventional approach of selecting the countries and why, and operations of Terra-Motors in three countries –Bangladesh, India and Vietnam, in detail. He shared his approach of identifying partners (making best of “linked in” etc.) and how they try to minimize the risk (using existing factories etc.), while taking risk as a start-up.

He emphasized the importance of pricing policy to fit the market and to fend off competition, of building on the trust Japanese companies have established, and of making clear commitment.

He shared his life as entrepreneur in the emerging markets, i.e. encountering the problems every week and dealing with them. He emphasized the need to accept uncertainties for starting up in emerging markets, as it is the best way to make the best of huge potential of the emerging markets

He shared vision of making Terra-Motors as one of the Global Unicorns from Japan. He had many suggestions to the Japanese entrepreneurs and business people, such as commitment and determination to vision is the key to become a global entrepreneurs, rather than English and other things.

After his presentation (18 minutes into the Opening), I asked Toru about how he became interested in entrepreneurship and in starting his own business. Questions included, “What was the trigger of changing his course from working for the established Japanese company to the start up?” “Why EV bike?”

At the end, I asked for volunteers with new business idea to lead the discussion in breakout sessions. Eight breakout groups worked on developing the business of the leader assigned to the table.

VIDEO: Presentation and Closing (Part 2)

In the last 40 minutes or so, seven groups reported back what they discussed at each breakout sessions. Ideas in Asia/Africa etc. included

  1. combination of gaming and education for children, as there is a good potential for children to learn while they play. (example of learning history through game playing etc.)
  2. program to connect four parties-the Japanese interested in global issues, the Philippine students, university in the Philippines and the Japanese companies interested in emerging markets. Specifically, help the Japanese to learn English communication skills on the substantive issues (rather than conversation) and the Philippine student to time management with scholarships, by collaboration the universities in the Philippines and the Japanese companies.
  3. Story development to show how cool and sophisticated the lifestyle in Africa via design, textile, to change the not-so-good image of Africa and to raise awareness of the potential of Africa for the Japanese companies over the long run
  4. Job platform in Africa to tap the big potential of young population (but high unemployment) in the long run. Several phased plan-short term through consulting, medium term for education of young Africans and start business in Africa with them.
  5. Develop platform to show/introduce Japanese culture/quality to the world—relatively rich Asians in particular, with stories to appeal to their desire to have something different and of high quality. Shochu as initial example.
  6. Web service through iPhone apps, for search of small restaurants. I.e. Rakuten for food service of small & medium restaurants not necessarily equipped with high IT literacy.
  7. Web site service for independent (retired sometimes) professionals such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, physicians etc. supported by search optimization engine. Focus in Asia. New business opportunities for professionals who traditionally depended upon word-of-mouth. Differentiable. Probably understanding of cultural issues challenge as trust is critical for this service and different societies may have different attitudes.

In the last 6 minutes or so, Toru shared the problem Terra-Motors faces-i.e. how to retain good competent people as they see opportunities with more in terms of salary. Toru’s approach is to appeal to the competent people with the vision of the company and to take care of the people.

His final comment to the Japanese people is “If 60% is the probability of success, Take action.” From his experience of being in start-up business, 99% of the plan does not go as planned. You have to adapt and solve problems as you go along.

VIDEO: Before session (Part 3)

Toru Tokushige, special guest for the session #32, explained the origin together with vision of becoming Global Unicorn from Japan, growth and status of Terra-Motors. His suggestions to the Japanese people are “Japanese tend to think too much. Take an action!”

Interview was done both in Japanese and in English.

VIDEO: After session (Part 4)

After the session during networking, I interviewed two of the participants. The first is Akiko who participated several times at “Davos.. in Tokyo” series before, but not lately, about her impression and experience, first in Japanese and in English.

Second person is Phoenix who was one of the discussion leaders at the session. It was his first time to attend the Davos.. series and he liked the opportunity to hear inspiring entrepreneur, Toru Tokushige, our special guest and at the same time to meet with people with different background. (He particularly liked the opportunity to explain his new idea to those who are not that familiar with games etc.)

#Session 32 “Davos Experience in Tokyo” series

December 4, 2015

“Is Asia still good for entrepreneurs? Let us hear from Toru Tokushige, founder of Terra-Motors”

Last session of Davos Experience in Tokyo series in 2015 will be held at Wilson Learning

Worldwide Innovation Center. The guest for the session is Toru Tokushige, CEO of Terra-Motors which manufactures and sells EV bike and three wheelers in Asia.

World economy is in the state of flux with slower growth of China affecting not only Asian region but also the whole world. Is Asia still good market for the entrepreneurs?

Toru founded Terra-Motors in 2010, with the grand plan of making the best of the high growth potential of Asia. He will discuss with us how he sees the current business environment of Asia, his motivation behind his start-up and the future outlook of Asia as a region and of his business.

I had the opportunity to interview Toru in February 2015. He made a very strong impression on me that I wanted to invite him to share with us his perspectives. He proposed latter half of the year to establish the stronger foundation for his business. So here he is. Business environment in Asia has changed quite drastically since early part of this year, and yet, you can feel the vitality and high hope of growth in Asia when you visit the Asian countries, in particular, ASEAN region.

It has been three years since we started “Davos Experience in Tokyo” series. Our original objective was to develop many people who could discuss global issues in English at the international conferences such as the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. Some of the participants may now have a plan to start business on global scale.

For those interested in new adventures and undertakings, we would like to make the best of Toru’s experience of starting business and growing business in Asia. He may discuss what advantages and disadvantages the Japanese business people have in Asia. How about making a plan for start-up in Asia, as we welcome the year 2016. The last session of “Davos Experience in Tokyo” series in 2015 will be a great opportunity to test your hypothesis and ideas AND to explore the possibility of collaboration, for those who are interested in starting business and being engaged in the business in Asia.

We hope many of you will join us on December 4.

第32回ダボスの経験を東京で

2015年12月4日

「起業するならアジア? テラモーターズ徳重さんに伺うアジア起業のよもやま話」

2015年最後の「ダボスの経験を東京で」シリーズは、12月4日(金曜日)にウィルソン・ラーニングのイノベーションセンターでアジアを中心にEVバイクと電動三輪車の製造販売を展開しているテラモーターズ株式会社 代表取締役社長 徳重さんを招いて開催します。

世界経済の先行きは不透明で、特に中国の経済減速がアジアだけでなく、世界各国に影響を及ぼし始めています。成長が減速してもアジアはまだポテンシャルが高いのでしょうか?今年最後の「ダボスの経験を東京で」はアジアの急成長を先取りして2010年にテラモーターズを創設した徳重徹さんをお招きして、日本と他のアジア諸国の起業にむけた事業環境、アジアで起業した背景、今後の展開などについて、お話を伺います。

私は徳重さんと今年の2月に対談して、とても強い印象を持ち、ぜひ一度お招きしたいと思っていました。もう少し地盤を固めてから、ということで今回になりました。お話しを伺った2月とはだいぶ状況は異なっていますが、成長が鈍化したといっても、アジアのポテンシャルがまだまだ大きいことは、実際に行くと肌で感じることができます。

「ダボスの経験を東京で」を始めて3年が経ちました。ダボス会議のような国際的な場で、世界が直面するグローバルな課題を英語で議論できる個人を増やしたい、という想いで始めたこの取り組み。参加者の中には「グローバルでビジネスをしたい!」という方もいらっしゃるのではないでしょうか?

そこで今回はアジアで起業する場合、どのようなことに気をつけたら良いのか、徳重さんが感じられた日本人のメリットとデメリットなどについても伺いたいと思います。まだまだ変化し続けるアジアであなたも起業をしてみませんか?起業をしたいと考えている方やアイディアをお持ちの方にとって、今年最後の「ダボスの経験を東京で」はコラボレーションや仮説検証のチャンスです。皆様の参加をお待ちしております。

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