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Event Report: McGill Japan Entrepreneurship Roundtable

McGill Japan Entrepreneurship Roundtable: Wednesday, April 13th, 2016.

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The McGill MBA Japan program was very pleased to welcome 45 guests to the McGill Japan Entrepreneurship Roundtable event on Wednesday, April 13th in Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Our panel was made up of Professor Michael Avedesian, a seasoned business man and entrepreneur, Mr Jeffry Char, of J-Seed Ventures, one of the leaders in Entrepreneurial Start Ups in Japan, Mr Tsutsumi Takashi, MBA 2003 of Learning Entrepreneur’s Lab, Tokyo based Process-based Seed Accelerator and Mr Clinton Gass, MBA 2000, Founder and CEO of Gass Teas, the distributor of Rooibos Tea in Japan.

We were treated to a lively discussion on entrepreneurship in general, and the real experiences of the panelists. Jeff Char was keen to point out that a start up venture can take up to 10 years to bear fruit, so the team must have real long term commitment to the project in order to get it off the ground.

All panelists pointed out that in some areas, in particular the IT space, costs of computing power have dropped so dramatically, that anyone with a good idea can try to put something together in their spare time. The key is the keep Intellectual Property pure. That is to say, the entrepreneur needs to be using their own equipment, own computer, and own software and not their present employer’s!

Takashi Tsutsumi was keen to point out that there are well understood processes that will make a start up company successful. By learning from the mistakes and successes of others, an entrepreneur can get closer to their goal without wasting too much time or resource.

Clinton Gass pointed out that in the consumer space, the best way to test a new product is simply to put it out there and see what happens. No amount of focus group or analytical study can tell you if a product will succeed or not.

Michael Avedesian reiterated that the key to success is the people on the team. People are the key to every entrepreneurial success, and that putting together the right people with the right idea, and giving them space to fail, will be the key to future success. Michael also pointed out that some types of ventures need millions of dollars to succeed, so that lean start up model won’t always be appropriate.

If you would like to find out more about the McGill MBA Japan program, be sure to contact us through the website or give us a call at our office.