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The 1st Design x Business x Entrepreneurship Seminar: “Creating value worth more than ¥1,000 for a strawberry"

October 24th, 2019

Kyushu University Faculty of Design , Kyushu University Business School (QBS) and Robert T. Huang Entrepreneurship Center of Kyushu University (QREC) held a seminar called the 1st Design x Business x Entrepreneurship seminar. At the seminar, we welcomed Mr. Hiroki Iwasa, the founder of GRA Inc., who talked about “Producing One Strawberry Whose Value Exceeds 1,000 yen” as the topic. The event was a success with about 40 participants from inside and outside the school. Associate Professor Masaki Matsunaga from Faculty of Economics at Kyushu University reports on the event below.

Mr Iwasa is a serial entrepreneur that established IT companies since he was a student. He is from Yamamotocho Miyagi Prefecture where it was devastated by the Great East Japan earthquake in March 11, 2011. GRA is a next generation organization that is both an agricultural production corporation and an incorporated nonprofit organization at the same time. Its mission is the revitalization of Yamamotocho through production and processing sales of the local specialty product, high grade strawberries.
At the seminar, Mr. Iwasa talked about himself and stories about GRA. Then, he mentioned important points about revitalizing the local economy through making a venture company. These points included market characteristics surrounding the specialty product traded, changes in the historical data of related markets, the branding essentials and the role of design, managing risks when starting a venture and growing it, how entrepreneurship can create new values through innovation, and specific approaches and things to watch out for. He explained these points with actual examples. He concluded his presentation with the message “Action creates values. ‘No action, no future’” to which the venue responded with a large applause.
In the question and answer session after the presentation, many questions were asked in a variety of areas. These included questions about the branding of “MIGAKI-ICHIGO” that GRA created which is now worth more than ¥1,000 for a single strawberry, human resources strategies and leadership of GRA that supports an organization that has now grown to cover Japan and several overseas countries such as India and Lebanon, and financing and risk management for challenging to continuously develop the business, etc. It was a seminar full of excitement and there was a line of participants waiting to talk to Mr Iwasa even after the seminar had ended.

Presenter
Hiroki Iwasa
Born Yamamotocho Miyagi Prefecture in 1977. He is an entrepreneur who runs multiple companies within Japan and overseas. In 2002, he founded an IT consulting service company ZUNOU Inc. when he was a university student. After the Great East Japan earthquake in 2011, he established GRA Inc. with the purpose to revitalize his hometown Yamamotocho which was devastated by the disaster. His life theme became the “recreation of Tohoku” with agriculture in advanced facilities as the focus. He created a structural reform in the agriculture business creating “MIGAKI-ICHIGO” that is worth \1,000 per strawberry. He is the author of the book “The ‘1% opportunity’ wins over ‘99% despair’” (DIAMOND,Inc.), “Sour sweet management” (BOOK WALKER Co., Ltd), and “Successful agriculture for those who never want to give up” (Asahi Shimbun Publications Inc.).

Hiroki Iwasa
Masaki Matsunaga

Date

October 24th (Thursday), 2019, 18:30-20:30 p.m. *Venue and Reception open from 18:00~

Venue

Kyushu University, Ohashi Campus, Building 7, Workshop Room 1F

4-9-1 Shiobaru Minami-ku Fukuoka Japan

Contact

Chiharu Tanoue (Kyushu University Faculty of Design)

tanoue.chiharu.215(a)m.kyushu-u.ac.jp

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Design for LGBTs and an Inclusive Society
ハサミムシとプロトエリトロプテランのペーパークラフト
ハサミムシ扇子の作り方
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Actual results

1

QS Ranking 2017-2020 (Art & Design field), Asia region-Japan: Ranked #1

44

Number of collaborative research results:44

20

Percentage of international students: 20%