I applied and earned a Monbukagakusho MEXT Scholarship, which provided me with the unique and wonderful opportunity to research female entrepreneurship and empowerment in Japan. As this was part of my initial application, it has since evolved since arriving in Japan. Nevertheless, it is a good framework and starting point for my chosen area of research.
I. Studying Japanese | 04/2016 to 09/2016
Goal: Improve Japanese by learning polite speaking skills, reading websites and newspapers, and understanding 100% of everything the Japanese teacher says. Demonstrate all-around improvement of Japanese skills through testing and increased awareness of contextual circumstances.
III. Research & Investigation | 10/2016 to 12/2016
Research a wide array of literature, conduct a SWOT analysis and develop a literature review.
Investigate entrepreneurship centers, university programs, incubators, and accelerators that are pipelines for female entrepreneurs.
Goal: Further develop an understanding of the Japanese entrepreneurial environment, and the current climate for women in the workforce.
IV. Resource Sourcing | 01/2017 to 03/2017
Attend events, networking groups, conferences, and discuss key ideas with professors.
Goal: Determine the best resources that will help female entrepreneurs jumpstart their business ideas in Japan.
V. Interview & Qualitative Analysis | 04/2017 to 06/2017
Conduct qualitative analysis of the interview data to discover the key themes and patterns. Identify policies, ideas, lessons, etc. from Silicon Valley that can be applied in the Japanese context.
Interview ~30 female entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and Japan to gather ~10 quality interviews.
Develop an interview protocol with a consent form.
Establish a standard for interviewees by finding a great example of a successful female entrepreneur.
Goal: Establish a strong understanding of all the factors that helped Silicon Valley female entrepreneurs become successful, and the current climate for women in the workforce.
VI. Research Paper | 07/2017 to 03/2018
Craft a research paper with suggestions on ways the Japanese government can support female entrepreneurs, thereby increasing the number of women in the workforce.
Goal: The ultimate goal of this research is to discover effective strategies to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in Japan.