How This Female Entrepreneur Plans to Change the World

If I only had one word to describe her, I would use — visionary! Yes, it's a cliché, especially when attributed to entrepreneurs, but there's no better word than this, to describe Mariko Fukui.

Currently, Mariko is the Founder and CEO of Aalto International —a global branding and public relations company. With a number of accomplishments already under her belt (i.e. CEO by the age of 25, learned English on the job in Singapore, has traveled to over 20 countries, etc.), Mariko has now set her sights on creating the world's first global sustainability solutions platform.

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How This Japanese Female Entrepreneur Succeeded in Designing Her Own Career Path

An Interview with Designer Sachie Suzuki of a Women's Boutique in Tokyo

Right after Sachie Suzuki's eldest child turned 1 in 1991, she launched her boutique in Tokyo. From full-time housewife to launching her own brand, Sachie made a dramatic change.

The reason, you may ask? Well, she was honestly a bit bored as a full-time housewife, sought to be financially independent, and she deeply desired to design unique items.

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A Captivating Role Model for Future Female Entrepreneurs in Japan

On a sunny day in Tokyo, I visited Kazuyo Saka's high-end women's fashion store called Kana. A warm, sociable, social-media friendly Japanese entrepreneur, Kazuyo struck me as a woman I could truly look up to as an inspirational role model.

Kazuyo always had a profound love for fashion, and quickly began working for a small design company right after finishing school, similar to entrepreneur Yukiko Yamamoto. While there, she developed a keen sense of discovering high-quality and inexpensive raw materials, and finessed her design skills.

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Why This Professional Networking Service is Excelling in Japan

Confident. Transparent. And approachable. These are the 3 words that I would use to quickly describe Akiko Naka, founder of Wantedly — the game-changing, professional networking service in Japan that offers two unique services.

One, Wantedly allows candidates who are interested in a particular company to visit the offices of the potential employer — a highly unusual service in Japan. Two, Wantedly’s mission is to create: “A world where work meets passion.”

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How This Female Founder Spearheaded Innovative Kimono Accessory Designs

A stunning, fashionable, light-hearted, and fun woman, Yukiko Yamamoto happily shared her personal trajectory. Now at the age of 67, she runs a design studio for kimono accessories called 紅小梅 (べにこうめ)・京都 (きょうと) in Kyoto and Shanghai with 4 full-time employees. Yukiko creates custom-made and personalized goods for her customers based on their wishes.

Fundamentally optimistic and warm, you would never guess that Yukiko has overcome betrayal and embezzlement of a former employee, surmounted huge piles of debt, and been the target of constant gossip. But she has

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A Calming & Creative Twist to a Centuries Old Tradition

Graceful. Elegant. And mired in tradition. These were my three takeaways from my visit with Atsuko Mori at Camellia — the founder of a traditional tea ceremony experience, geared towards foreigners in Kyoto. Atsuko started her company a mere 3 years ago, and already plans on expanding to a new location within the next year. 

Now with a steady business under her belt with 13 people working for her, all of whom are women, Atsuko is conducting more PR and making more time for herself. She recently appeared on television, was featured on Facebook Japan’s #SheMeansBusiness to promote female founders, created a video on how to make matcha tea, and married a man from the UK

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Pioneering Female Founder from the Japanese Tech Scene

Towards the end of 2016, I wrapped up my final interview of the year with Japanese female entrepreneur Chika Tsunoda, a Keio University graduate — one of the top business universities in Japan. Within a mere 40 minutes, I learned about her views on what makes an entrepreneur successful in Japan and the best advice she ever received.

In 2013 at the age of 28, Chika Tsunoda began her Anytimes technology business with neither a background in technology, nor programming friends. As such, she started from humble beginnings of crowdsourcing employees in order to create exactly what she wanted — an online skill share platform to connect users who need services such as housecleaning or cooking with local talent. 

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Breaking Stereotypes —  A Young Foreign Mother & Female Founder in Japan

Impressive. Inspiring. And invigorating! These were the words I immediately felt while speaking to amazing female entrepreneur  —  Omima M. Miki, or “Mimi” for short. Currently, her task list is larger than most Japanese サラリーマンor “salary men.” One of her latest initiatives is planning and launching an “温泉と旅館” or a Japanese-style hotel paired with a relaxing onsen spa and delectable Japanese-style food.

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Introducing Japanese Female Entrepreneur — Emi Takemura Miller of Peatix.com & FutureEdu Tokyo

Recently, I interviewed an incredible female founder, Emi Takeumura Miller. We spoke about everything ranging from the advantages of starting a female entrepreneurship to the importance of sharing your vision with everyone you meet. Not only did she co-found Peatix.com, a mobile-focused event platform, but she also co-founded FutureEdu Tokyo, an education-based community, and co-hosted Unreasonable Labs Japan, a 5-day, hyper-accelerator to give Japan-based, social entrepreneurships an “unfair advantage to scale and succeed.” Most recently, Emi spoke at TEDxRoppongi to encourage more young female participation in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).

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Experiencing the Startup Life in Silicon Valley | A Self-Initiated Mega Tour Part 2

Recently, my professor Chihiro Suematsu of the Graduate School of Economics and Management at Kyoto University sponsored 5 MBA students to join him in a weeklong tour of Silicon Valley startups (GoogleEchoUserChewse), and universities (StanfordUC BerkeleyUSF). Through both my professor’s connections and my contacts, we scheduled a whirlwind, often back-to-back tour of Silicon Valley companies and highlights.

In Part I, enjoy an FAQ-style overview about Silicon Valley. In Part II, you will learn something unique about each of the places we visited.

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Experiencing the Startup Life in Silicon Valley | A Self-Initiated Mega Tour Part 1

Recently, my professor Chihiro Suematsu of the Graduate School of Economics and Management at Kyoto University sponsored 5 MBA students to join him in a weeklong tour of Silicon Valley startups (GoogleEchoUserChewse), and universities (StanfordUC BerkeleyUSF). Through both my professor’s connections and my contacts, we scheduled a whirlwind, often back-to-back tour of Silicon Valley companies and highlights.

All in all, we all felt it was an outstanding success! Thank you very much Professor Suematsu and Kyoto University for allowing us to participate in such an enriching and positive experience.

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Wisdom from Founder of Women 2.0 — Shaherose Charania

In a brand new co-working space called Galvanize in SOMA, San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to meet the founder of Women 2.0 — Shaherose Charania.

For those who don’t know, Women 2.0 is one of the most impressive organizations that can safely say its made a difference in the lives of 55,000 women who attended its 500 events in 25 different cities around the world — eight of which I have personally volunteered for and attended. In addition, a whopping 5,000 articles were posted by female entrepreneurs on the Women 2.0 website. Beyond events and articles, the organization has empowered over 100 women to start pre-seed companies with people they met at one of the events.

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