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With the intention of encouraging entrepreneurial activity in Japan, the University of Southern California is recruiting candidates for a 15-member entrepreneurial development program scheduled to start in July, according to Rebecca Weintraub, visiting director of USC’s Center for Corporate and Community Education.

Candidates for the nearly four-month program, which is sponsored partly by the Japanese government, must be planning to set up a business in Japan in the near future.

Participants will take part in seminars covering a host of subjects, including marketing, technology and crisis management.

After completing the course, they will spend about 14 weeks as an intern at one of a range of American companies, varying in terms of size and type of operations.

Participants are also requested to present a business plan at the end of the program to professors and business leaders both in the U.S. and Japan, including venture capitalists, Weintraub said.

“It is important to have a place to brainstorm,” Weintraub said.

“When a person is facing a problem or difficulty, it helps to have somebody else to coach with some ways that we can approach in different kinds of perspectives.”

Weintraub said the program is designed so that participants are able to create self-support networks of entrepreneurs when they return to Japan after completing the program.

Entrepreneurial activities are part of the culture in the United States and there are many networks to support entrepreneurs, many of them set up by entrepreneurs themselves. But the entrepreneur culture is lackluster in Japan, Weintraub said.

Selected candidates do not have to pay for the seminars during the program, but their living expenses are not covered.

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