Japan is famous (infamous?) for being one of the most difficult countries for a woman to have upward mobility in her career. This is due to the heavy cultural barricades that prevent women from being promoted to better jobs and managing positions in a company, much less start their own company. But things are getting better in the country, and one of the signs of this improvement is the hugely successful run of the very first Startup Weekend Tokyo for Women (SWTW) from March 14 to 16.
The landmark three-day event took place at the Google office in Roppongi, the company known globally not just for its internet innovations, but for its esteemed workplace environments in its offices all over the world. The first ever SWTW saw 85 participants divided into 13 teams of Japanese women who were very eager to make a pitch about their business ideas. The teams got very real and competent feedback from eight mentors, most of whom are entrepreneurs themselves. SWTW’s participants ranged from students to web designers.
The weekend’s big winner was a business pitch called “TryCosme”. The pitch’s innovative idea was to give female office workers free samples of cosmetics that can be chosen from a vending machine placed at offices. The women behind TryCosme say that they practically want to help tired office ladies look beautiful before they leave work. The service – if ever it is launched – will be free for women to use, but they must fill out a questionnaire relating to the cosmetics they tried. The team thinks that the data gathered from the questionnaires should be profitable.
While most of the women intimated that they would be going back to their day jobs after the event, it is notable that some of the women were serious enough to make the event their stepping stone to starting a real business. Dongyol Lee, facilitator of the SWTW event, says that in the future the organizers want to see more people join in, regardless of age, nationality, occupation, and even gender.
[via Tech In Asia]
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