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Top Interview with municipality’s person Sumida Frontier Academy, Strategy of the Sumida Area Brand

Sumida Frontier Academy, Strategy of the Sumida Area Brand

Created on 2016-2-19
Updated on 2016-2-19
In charge of industrial development; Industrial Economic Affairs Department, Industrial Tourism Division, Sumida City

Sumida City has been evolving since the opening of TOKYO SKYTREE ® on May 22, 2012. Tourists have increased, and we have seen some changes in industrial structure accordingly. Typical examples are the results achieved through Sumida Brand Certification and Monozukuri (Manufacturing) Collaboration; those are as part of Strategy of the Sumida Area Brand initiated in fiscal 2010. Activities include not only improvement of existing goods, but development of novel goods, which business managers rooted in the region, from juniors to veterans, challenge with Japan’s leading planners. Sumida Frontier Academy, which was launched in 2004, aims at developing such young managers and successors.

We interviewed Hideki Takayama, Unit Manager in charge of Industrial Development; Industrial Economic Affairs Department, Industrial Tourism Division, Sumida City, regarding the purpose of the Academy this time.

A business school for young managers and successors

Sumida City is the area where there have been a lot of factories only with a few employees since a long time ago. The City developed the Industrial Promotion Master Plan in 2003, in which development of successors was most prioritized. In 2004 the City opened Sumida Frontier Academy, a business school for young business managers and second generation managers, and Mitsuhiro Seki, Professor of Meisei University specializing in Theories of Industry, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, and Regional Economies, assumed the head of the Academy. 90 students have finished the Academy up to now. According to the application guidebook the age limit should be around 45 years old, but most students are in the middle of 30s.

Producing young business managers who can become leaders in the region

The one-year curriculum is organized by inspections and training camps in addition to lectures of about once every month. Lectures are systematized into three categories, i.e. Start-up, Management Learning, and Management Strategy Formation. Inspections and training camps are very meaningful opportunities for the Academy students. They make challenges through communicating with young business managers nationwide, stimulating each other, and acquiring management techniques and clues for product development.

Projects performed extensively by the meeting of graduates

The Academy has already produced 90 completion students, while a weak horizontal tie among them has been an issue so far. In 2011 the meeting of graduates launched, and several projects are progressing. The one is the Haizai Project.

This is a workshop in which they produce kaleidoscopes using scrap woods from factories, side metals produced when pressing and slips of cloth, while the project also plays the role of showing children "Funs in Monozukuri (Manufacturing)."
Balloon for Balloon Volleyball (by MARUSA SAITO RUBBER) was certified as a Sumida Brand for fiscal 2011. The Balloon was developed to support balloon volleyball played by disabilities and the elderly.
From the left; Kaleidoscopes manufactured by Haizai Project, and Balloon for Balloon Volleyball
Thank you very much, Takayama-san. Next we interviewed Satoshi Uemura, Unit Manager in charge of industrial development; Industrial Economic Affairs Department, Industrial Tourism Division, Sumida City, regarding initiatives on Strategy of the Sumida Area Brand.

Raising a publicity of Sumida by Strategy of the Sumida Area Brand

Our City gained attentions in terms of sightseeing with the opening of TOKYO SKYTREE ® in spring 2012, and, taking the opportunity, we challenged to improve values added to goods and to deliver widely the information on Monozukuri of Sumida inside and outside of the City.
So we prioritized the idea of B2C (transactions between enterprises and consumers). In order to create and deliver attractiveness of Sumida through such activities as development of goods many consumers can have, we launched the Council for Sumida Regional Brand Promotion in March 2010, which was to decide Sumida Brand Certification of Sumida Brand. In July 2010 28 goods were certified as Sumida Brand, and 23 goods were certified in fiscal 2011. In the fiscal year we launched another certification, Restaurant Menu (Gourmet Selection), and 14 menus were certified.

Developing goods for consumers in the Monozukuri (Manufacturing) Collaboration

Certified goods in the last 2 years were not necessarily traditional. We have also certain number of newly developed goods. The Monozukuri (Manufacturing) Collaboration is a core of new product developments, I should say. In the Business, Japan’s leading planners and designers, as collaborators, compete each other with their own individualities and develop goods for consumers.
Memoblock for example, developed in 2009 through a collaboration between Tomoharu Matsuda, Representative of Tenkei Project, and ITO BINDERY Co., Ltd., won a Good Design Award in fiscal 2010 and was certified as Sumida Brand in fiscal 2011. Representative Matsuda also developed Iromarukubi, in which original and modern techniques for made-in-Japan are integrated, under the collaboration with Kumeseni Industries Co., Ltd., and Tenkei Body Soap and Tennkei Face-Washing Soap, certified as Sumida Brand in fiscal 2010, in the collaboration with Matsuyama Co., Ltd.
When developing Strategy of the Sumida Area Brand, you cannot forget about the Sumida Frontier Academy, a business school for young business managers and successors in the City. Now is the 8th year for the Academy, from which many business managers graduated, including Masaki Ito, Managing Director of ITO BINDERY Co., Ltd. who developed Memoblock; Koichi Shindo, President of SANEI Co., Ltd. who developed Sumida Chankomaki (certified as Sumida Brand in fiscal 2010); Yuki Chiba, Executive Managing Director of Chiba-plas Co., Ltd. who developed Osara Manaita (certified as Sumida Brand in fiscal 2011); and Katsuyuki Kasahara, Representative of Kasahara Spring Seisakusyo who developed Tenohira Tong.
Experiencing many of these initiatives, I realize that Sumida City has become fulfilled with People and Goods.
Thank you very much today, Uemura-san. The goods with Sumida Brand certification, introduced in the interviewed, are sold at Sumida Monodokoro. We interviewed Sumida Monodokoro before. Please refer to the article below for details.
Address: 1-23-20, Azumabashi, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-8640
Phone: +81-3-5603-6188