Japanese External Trade Organisation (Jetro) in association with IT trade body Nasscom and Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru (IIMB) on Monday formally inaugurated Indo-Japan Startup Hub in Bengaluru.

"The decision to set up startup centre was taken during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Japan last year and it was mentioned in the joint statement of Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe," Hiroshige Seko, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) told DH.

Seko said this would serve as a platform for promotion of information exchange, business collaboration and investments between the vibrant and innovative start-up ecosystems of the two nations.

"Bengaluru convinced me that sky is the limit for India-Japan economic relationships. Japan's strength in hardware and India's strength in software will further fuel innovation. In the age of IoT, India-Japan partnership will help solve challenges like Society 5.0," he said.

The Indo-Japan Startup Hub is part of Jetro's Global Acceleration Hub Progaramme which is already present in other 12 crountries. Jetro and Nasscom will be the nodal agencies to execute this startup hub which will be located at the IIM-B.

According to an analyst, Japan is looking at Indian startups to further expand its tech prowess. "Japan is looking at a major shift in its business with digital disruption and dramatic changes in auto industry. They are looking at India to get used to various technology and access to other geographies later," the analyst said.

Besides Masayoshi Son's SoftBank Group's investment to the tune of $6 billion, Indian startups are also witnessing investments from Japanese investors like Mistletoe, Incubate Fund, Beenext and Anew Holding.

India and Japan have already started their cooperation in IT and IoT through bilateral Joint Working Group on IT and Electronics through the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nasscom and IoT Acceleration Consortium (ITAC) of Japan.

The Japanese companies have expressed support for the initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Smart City, Clean India, and Startup India.

According to sources, Japan is gearing up to launch a one-year startup visa programme soon to attract foreign entrepreneurs. The programme will be included in an economic package to be approved by the government.

Under Japan's new startup visa programme, foreign entrepreneurs will have 12 months to live and work anywhere in Japan, especially in special zones in Fukuoka City and Tokyo.

Besides entrepreneurship, India and Japan have also joined hands to launch robotics and artificial intelligence in the defense segment -- In February.

In January, Japanese investment and consulting firm Dream Incubator, which made its India debut by investing in 99Games, an Udupi-based gaming startup, in January 2017, announced that it is in the process of launching a 5 billion yen ( ~ US$44.3 million) fund to invest in Indian tech startups.

Beside Japan, the US Embassy has also launched the Nexus Startup Hub at the American Center in Delhi, aiming to support a dynamic ecosystem for innovative Indian startups through the sharing of American best business practices in entrepreneurship and incubation.

Source - Deccan Herald

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