Team leader Masamichi Hashimoto, Industry Promotion Section of Regional Promotion Division, Kita City
Industry Promotion Section , Regional Promotion Division, Kita City
Kita City is currently in phase 3 (FY2015-2017) of the “Kita Ward Industrial Revitalization Vision” begun in 2008, with an action goal of “Challenge City Kita toward Creation” aimed at industrial revitalization. The Industry Promotion Section of Regional Promotion Division, Kita City plays an important role in this. Team leader Masamichi Hashimoto gave us a lively account of daily efforts.
The Industry Promotion Section strives for “total support for manufacturing firms.” It provides management-related assistance including management consulting, technical consulting, marketing consulting, support related to human resources and business development, providing industry information, etc., providing assistance for revitalizing firms across many aspects.
“Basically we are a Jack-of-all-trades. We take the attitude of asking, ‘Do you have any problems?,’ and handle any type of consultation.”
Items covered for consultation and support include management strategy, marketing, production administration, employee training etc, with 4 advisers each having specialized fields, 2 technical advisers invited from the regional independent administrative agency the Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute, and 2 coordinators for expanding marketing channels invited from the private sector, for a total of 8 advisers.
Advisers handle not only individual consultations, but are also responsible for promoting cooperation among companies. For this purpose the “Support Site for Monozukuri (Mmanufacturing) Firms” is helpful, which was set up to promote a network among companies. This website was established for the purpose of promoting cooperation among firms and expanding transactions of placing and receiving orders, introducing Monozukuri (manufacturing) support information and company information within the City, and as of January 2016, there are some 260 registered and disclosed firms in the database.
“Creating a home page requires expenses, which not all SMEs can afford. There is no charge for registering on this website, and production and updates are handled by the Industry Promotion Section. Since it is being produced by the city office, search engine optimization (SEO) measures are covered properly.
The Support Site for Monozukuri (Manufacturing) Firms is also used to promote collaboration between registered firms. Then as a go-between, the Industry Promotion Section connects companies.
In Kita City, there is not only cooperation among firms, but there are also active efforts to build a cooperative system with universities to promote cooperation between industry and academia. In 2010 with Tokyo Kasei University, in 2011 with Toyo University, and then in 2012 with Teikyo University, a comprehensive framework was concluded aimed at creation of a rich local community, working in cooperation with various research institutions including these universities as well as neighboring cities, utilizing the respective human, intellectual and physical resources of each to resolve local issues including education, culture, industry, health, the environment, town planning, disaster prevention, crime prevention, etc.
It has been decided that the Information Cooperation Department of Toyo University will relocate to Akabanedai in 2017, which will mean over 1,600 students will be commuting in the future. The Industry Promotion Section plans to pursue new cooperation with this department.
“In product development, in manufacturing industries there is often industry-university cooperation in the area of science and engineering, however, with the coming of the new Information Cooperation Department, there are expectations for realizing cooperation between industry and academia in the area of arts and humanities. In the past, with the cooperation of a professor of the Marketing Department of Toyo University, an event was conducted where seminar students interviewed companies within the City that developed new products, and made presentations on their research of the sellers, and by being able to include ‘made a presentation on a Kita City event’ on their CVs, it appears this was helpful in their job search activities.”
In dealing with manufacturing firms, the Industry Promotion Section takes the stance, “If you have any problem, first contact Kita City.” The aforementioned 8 advisers do not sit at their desks waiting for consultations, rather, have a basic stance of proactively seeking out consultations with firms on their own.
“Over the course of daily activities, my impression is that despite enhanced subsidy programs by Kita City and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, there are still many companies who are unaware of them. For example, it is little known that the City has a subsidy system of ¥200,000 for participating in trade fairs. Therefore, I ‘m introducing this system on making the rounds, ‘Are you aware of this system?’ Through this type of communication, companies begin to discuss management challenges. In the event a large sum of money is required that can’t be handled by the City in order to resolve an issue, I’m introducing subsidy programs of the city and national governments. Also, we conduct seminars on guidance for how to fill out applications, as well as providing support through individual visits and filling out the forms together. We believe work of the Industry Promotion Section is the ultimate service industry. Definitely take advantage of our services.”
The Industry Promotion Section is based in the “Hokutopia Ward Office.” This is a symbol of Kita City constructed for the purpose of promoting the development of industry and raising the cultural standard of city residents