Start-ups Innovating Asia

Orange (comprised in the main by the former France Telecom) announced in 2015 a five-year push to support hundreds of start-ups in its area of coverage... that is to say globally, from Europe and Africa to the Americas and of course Asia, the hotbed of emerging markets. The French government led by President Emmanuel Macron has been doing the same in Europe and even its overseas territories (more about Tahiti in a separate article). In Asia, Tokyo has been the pacesetter in this endeavor.Orange has its start-up program run by its subsidiary Orange Fab, having operations in Silicon Valley and elsewhere as well as in – for Asia – Tokyo, Taipei and Seoul. As a result of “acceleration support” provided by the Orange Fab Asia operations, to date some 45 start-ups each in Taiwan and Korea have gained Orange backing. As for Japan, it is just one short of having five dozen start-ups taking part in the Orange Fab Asia program thanks to the diligent efforts of Program Manager Hiroshi Nishikawa.

As for start-up activity support in ASEAN, there are incubation and acceleration efforts like those supported by multinationals like Unilever and Singapore Telecom (for our readers' info, allied with Orange). Recently, the Indian subcontinent has seen some surge of software and biomed startups as well. If the Middle East outside of the African continent is to deemed to be the Orient and thus Asia, then the there are those accelerators backed by various governments in the region. Large regional electronics showcases like GITEX in Dubai bear out the results.

Reverting to Orange Fab Asia, a January meetup held at a new location in Tokyo (quite accessible despite being under blizzard conditions) was held at a newly-opened co-working space called “docks” run by Creww in tandem with land developer Mori. Located near major embassies [not including the French or the German embassies, near Hiroo area] and close by Kamiyacho and Roppongi 1-chome subway stations, it has the motto of “Open Innovation Community”; it was announced that several more “docks” space would be opening up through April in central Tokyo.

In May, some start-ups from Orange Fab Asia are seen being set to participate in Innovfest unbound, an academia-oriented enterpreneurship support program in Singapore jointly with UK-based events company unbound. Innovfest is held under the auspices of NUS Enterprise, the National University of Singapore entrepreneurish promotion curriculum. The venue as was the same last year will likely be Suntec City – by happenstance the host to the Singapore Motor Show earlier in 2018.

One start-up slated to give a talk at Innovfest unbound 2018 will be a spin-out from Japan's Showa University, which is known for its medical school. Named primesap and backed by Akihabara-based digital enterprise dmm, its head was the main presenter at the Orange Fab docks January meetup. Mr. Takeshi Kimura has been promoting primesap's patient tracking business both in Japan and abroad, running the gamut from Dubai to the U.S. – according to colleagues in JETRO programs a powerful pitchman befitting a foreign audience.

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