Hokkaido Government Office is the first place we visited in Sapporo during our study tour. The tall and modern building can be noticed from a distance, despite being one of many huge buildings in such a modern city as Sapporo.
We were welcomed by our senpai, an alumnus of the University of Tsukuba, Yusuke Araki. Mr. Yusuke is the Chief of Startup Division and he shared with us the projects his team has been working on.
One of the biggest challenges of the Hokkaido prefecture is brain drain and lack of labor force. The youth and many professionals are moving to other big cities with hopes of a better life. The local government came up with an innovative solution to solve that issue – making Hokkaido a start-up city. It is a well-known fact how important start-ups are and even today’s major corporations once started as small start-ups. Hokkaido Government Office is introducing a ‘Startup visa’ for innovative enthusiasts who are looking for a place to start a business. This visa not only permits one to stay in Hokkaido for 1 year and prepare for starting a business but also ensures support from the local government in that endeavor.
After the presentation, we exchanged several ideas with government officials and got answers to our questions. It was a very good opportunity to learn how the local government is trying to solve their issues.