Faculty & Leadership Blog / Faculty in the News

Japan Academic Society for Ventures and Entrepreneurs

“Entrepreneurial Thought and Action” is a key aspect of our strategy at Babson College (http://www.babson.edu).  These concepts imply that entrepreneurship is a mindset, an approach and that ideas not executed will not result in either social or economic outcomes.  I was in Niigata, Japan yesterday doing a keynote address for a gathering of the 600 members of the Japan Academic Society for Ventures and Entrepreneurs (JASVE) (http://www.venture-ac.ne.jp).  This group has only recently come together to trade ideas and share research, a landmark for Japan which is among countries with the lowest rates of nascent entrepreneurship in the world  at under 6%  http://www3.babson.edu/ESHIP/research-publications/gem.cfm

Niigata, a bustling city of 2.5 million located about a 4 hour drive (1.5 hours by bullet train) northeast of Tokyo, is encouraging economic development, innovation and job creation.  I met the Governor of the Prefecture, Mr. Hirohiko Izumida, and he openly presents his vision for business development as a pathway to the future of the area.

I was truly inspired by Mr. Hiromu Ikeda, chairman of the Graduate Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. Mr. Ikeda not only founded the graduate school, but also a 4 year medical school and 23 community colleges. But perhaps his biggest passion is sports — he owns several professional sports teams — soccer, basketball, baseball, skiing, and cross country, as well as a 43,000 seat stadium and all the youth training programs.   The teams, all named the Albinex, share the colors orange-for the sun, blue-for the water and white-for the swan.   More impressive is the rationale behind the sports teams — he rescued the local failing professional teams and built them up to the point where they have developed the local economy by providing jobs, generated an enormous fan base and fan clubs giving the area a sense of tradition and pride, and built subsidiary businesses with tee shirts and other sporting paraphernalia.  Central to Mr. Ikeda’s philosophy is the believe that sports training instills skills, confidence and a sense of belonging — he believes the skills learned through sports are transferrable to entrepreneurial endeavors.  Mr. Ikeda is the quintessential sports entrepreneur — and typifies entrepreneurial thought and action at its best.

With Mr. Ikeda as a role model, Mr. Izumida as a visionary, it appears that Niigata will be leading the way to entrepreneurial success in the future.

Candida G. Brush, Professor of Entrepreneurship
Paul T. Babson Chair in Entrepreneurship
Chair- Entrepreneurship Division
Babson College