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Dec 15, 2022
On Saturday, November 12, the APU Startup Program held an achievement presentation for its 4th batch of students and an inauguration ceremony for its 5th batch. Since its launch in July 2018, the APU Startup has been a practical extracurricular program led by President Deguchi, in which faculty and staff guide students in entrepreneurial activities. So far, 10 groups have started businesses from this initiative.
It was the first time in three years that the achievement presentation and the inauguration ceremony were held face-to-face, and about 40 APU Startup Program members gathered together. In addition, 13 people attended as guests from Oita Prefectural Office, Beppu City, Oita City, and other organizations responsible for supporting the startups. President Deguchi said, "Pursue your dreams and goals with all your might and without regrets. I support you from the bottom of my heart."
Five projects were presented during the achievement presentation of the 4th batch.
Kyosuke Kawahara (College of International Management, 2nd year) presented the opening of a shared office, which opened in November in Beppu City, that provides the necessary environment for starting a business to encourage students to take a step towards their dreams.
THING Lama Dawa Dorje (College of International Management, 3rd year) with the cooperation of Japanese and Nepalese students established a non-profit organization that conducts fair trade importing and selling coffee from his home country of Nepal to Japan. Profits from the sale are returned in a fair manner. He explained that he wanted to contribute to his home country by creating local jobs.
Airu Ito (College of International Management, 4th year) and Miyu Shishido (College of Asia Pacific Studies), 4th year conducted a tasting survey with students from 57 countries and regions to select products for their international friends who did not have enough souvenirs from Beppu City and for souvenir hit hard during the pandemic. After negotiating with competing companies, they developed a product called, The 57, which is an assortment of sweets from three long-established souvenir makers in Beppu City. The product was released this October and can be found at the co-op shop on campus, some supermarkets in the city, and the shops at Beppu Station.
In addition, multiple APU Startup Program students collaborated to create an EC site, World Basket. While promoting different cultures, the site sells traditional crafts from various countries that are difficult to obtain in Japan.
Finally, as another entrepreneurial project for himself, Ito introduced Growbuddy, based on his experiences both abroad and at APU. It seeks to raise the level of international compatibility of Japanese people who often cannot speak English even if they learn it by suggestion English conversation games and Metaverse study abroad.
The 5th batch includes 55 people, the largest number so far as the selection frame has been expanded. From this term, face-to-face seminars will be resumed and strengthened in order to promote networking among APU Startup Program members.