Mention “Italy” and the country’s food and fashion spring to mind. Yet the Global Startup Program (GSP) developed by the country’s Ministry of Economic Development and implemented globally by the Italian Trade Agency has seen eight startups working in sectors as diverse as technology and manufacturing arrive in Japan to participate in an accelerator program and ideally attract investment on the back of the EU-Japan economic partnership agreement.

Some startups have incorporated innovative ideas to optimize the user experience in the travel and restaurant industries. Another uses light-emitting diode technology to create a product that grows plants and also helps purify the air. One has developed an ingenious “eco-sustainable” oil extraction system that doesn’t require water. A different company is discovering new technological horizons, working in native app development and creating new products in augmented reality.

The startups are based at and receiving guidance from EDGEof, a Shibuya-based leading incubator and self-described game changer studio. The startups are attending multiple pitching events and will hold one-to-one meetings with investors during their three-month tenure.

Startup representatives, EDGEof staff; officials from the Japan External Trade Organization, Tokyo Employment Consultant Center, Banca d’Italia and Nobu Ota, a partner in Valeocon (soon to be Oxygy) Management Consulting all attended a pre-induction event on July 15 to welcome the startups and provide a brief introduction about doing business in this country.

The Embassy of Italy in Japan’s First Counsellor and Head of the Economic and Commercial Section, Enrico Vattani, and Head of the Trade Promotion Section, Aristide Martellini, stressed both the importance of the GSP initiative and the support on offer in Japan.

A total of 82 Italian startups are participating worldwide, sent to countries such as the U.S., U.K., China, Korea and Slovenia, as well as Japan.

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