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Christian Schmitz

Aventa Co. Ltd
Rice Exchange

Date of birth: Dec. 31, 1969

Hometown: Cologne, Germany

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 18 (as of July 2019)

Christian Schmitz
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

My interest in a completely different culture was triggered when my grandfather gave me a book about different countries in the world and Japan was pictured with a hot spring bath and people sitting on the floor on tatami mats. My first stay in Japan was 1997 as a student staying at a host family in Kita-Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, surrounded by rice fields.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

Imagination is more important than knowledge as Einstein used to say. Knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. I am always exploring new worlds, new boundaries and love the unknown, the adventure ahead. And, in all I do, I like to have meaning embedded in my activities.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

Every day alive is an achievement in this highly complex and competitive world. I have built a retail network of 50 shops over Japan for a furniture company, prepared the market launch of a leading rice herbicide at the beginning of my career, gave birth to a new generation of hair color products, introduced many companies and brands into the Japanese market and now help many startups with their international strategies.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

With our new organization, the Purpose Driven Innovation Ecosystem, the goals are to find the most impactful and sustainable innovations to solve the biggest problems on our planet and scale them to international markets. I always hope to be a connector, a bridge between Japan and the world. I wish to bring purpose to our lives and businesses to cocreate a better tomorrow.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

“No” does not mean “no” and in Japan, we need to be patient and work on human relationships. It can also be very meaningful to get to know your business partners in a social context: a party, a dinner or even spending some time with them out of Tokyo in the countryside. Knowing people and connecting with them is a key to make things happen, but not only in Japan.

Last updated: Jul 1, 2019