Author: Yuji Honjo, Faculty Fellow, RIETI
Serendipity refers to a lucky encounter, an accidental discovery, or general good luck. Fostering entrepreneurship and stimulating innovation that are a result of serendipity are too numerous to count. The birth of the US-based Google (established in 1998) came about with the chance encounter of two graduate students at Stanford University. A service that began with a group of students at Harvard University later led to the formation of Facebook (established in 2004). Encounters are a catalyst of entrepreneurship and innovation.
However, comparing Japan’s current entrepreneurship both internationally and historically, we cannot exactly describe Japanese entrepreneurship as dynamic. As pointed out again and again in the White Paper on Small and Medium Enterprises in Japan, the business start-up rate since the collapse of the bubble economy has stagnated. According to findings from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), which is an international entrepreneurship research project, Japanese entrepreneurship is ranked quite low internationally. Not only is the percentage of people with experience starting a business low, but the percentage of people acting as angel investors to start-ups is also low. Moreover, there is a general lack of entrepreneurial attitudes, which are necessary in entrepreneurship and take the form of being able to make use of entrepreneurial networks (knowing other entrepreneurs), perceiving business opportunities, and gaining skills and knowledge require to start a new business.
Image taken by xegxef and sourced from Pixabay.