Swedish Embassy honors entrepreneurs


Six entrepreneurs — four Japanese and one each from Hong Kong and the United States — were given awards for their innovative achievements in a ceremony at the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo this week.

At the fifth annual ceremony held Monday, six special prizes under this year’s Entrepreneur Awards Japan were presented to the winners.

The Embassy of Sweden Award went to Chu Tsz-tat, the Hong Kong-born founder of Brand Pit, a startup that provides a market research service for brand managers that analyzes photos posted by brand fans on social networking services.

Chu also won a study trip to Sweden later this year, of which he said, “During the trip, I want to seek more chances to take my company to the next level.”

The Groundbreakers Award, which recognizes outstanding entrepreneurial women in Japan, was given to Hiromi Shimazu, the lawyer-turned-owner and chief designer of Princess Hiromi, an apparel brand for professional women.

Elliott Davis from the United States, president of 24 Explore Inc., a software developer utilizing augmented reality technology that supplements real-world elements by computer-generated sensory input, received the Venture Generation Award.

He said Japan’s environment for entrepreneurship is very supportive and that he hopes for even more support from the government.

Of the remaining prizes, the U.S. Business Award went to Soichiro Minami, founder and CEO of BizReach Inc.; the Swedish Chamber of Commerce Award to Yukiko Ito, president of Zest Inc.; and the Creative Business Cup Award to Maki Nakata, co-founder of Maki & Mpho.

BizReach offers a database for companies recruiting managers, Zest develops systems for efficient data processing, and Maki & Mpho introduces contemporary African designs to the menswear market.

At the event sponsored by the Swedish Embassy and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan, Magnus Robach, Sweden’s ambassador to Tokyo, congratulated the recipients and spoke about the vital role of teamwork for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Sweden is known as a leading source of innovators. In the Global Innovation Index 2014 released by the World Intellectual Property Organizations and others, the country ranked third after Switzerland and Britain.