Noboru Yoshida, a company support sub-leader
of Commerce and Manufacturing Support Section
Commerce and Manufacturing Support Section, Community Development Program Department, Shinagawa City
Shinagawa City accommodates many companies from global operators to small- to medium-sized and venture firms in various fields and scales. In recent years in particular, information/telecommunication related companies are vigorously increasing. Therefore, the City has expanded its support efforts to cover these information/telecommunication service providers in addition to small- to medium-sized manufacturers previously. We asked Noboru Yoshida, a company support sub-leader of Commerce and Manufacturing Support Section, on details and objectives of the efforts.
The reason behind extending support coverages to information/telecommunication services is changes in industry structures seen in the City, Yoshida explains.
“There used to be many manufacturers accumulated in the City, but the number of them has been apparently on a downtrend in recent years. Meanwhile, IT system-related and information/telecommunication SMEs and venture firms are increasing, causing us to broaden our support arenas.”
Eligible for supports are basically SMEs having headquarters or offices and doing businesses in the City for a year or more, but details should be asked because it depends on individual operations.
Let us introduce details on supports extended to the information/telecommunication field.
First is “Business Catalysts Dispatching Program.” The City has a unique program where experts—in company management, personnel administration/training, technology developments, production controls, legal/intellectual properties—consisting of ex-workers, specialists and researchers/engineers at institutions including universities are registered as “Shinagawa Business Catalysts.” At present 96 are registered. The program aims best suitable catalysts visit and advise companies facing こconcerns on operations, questions and difficult situations. It should be very helpful for yet inexperienced ventures, SMEs with insufficient personnel after entering into new business areas and so on.
“Catalysts as is represented by “platinum” make chemical reactions easier. The program represents our wishes that their advice offers companies solutions and vitality. If there are any issues, please consult with us.”
Another is “Support Program for Obtaining Intellectual Property Rights.” Subsidies up to \200,000 are paid to cover a part of expenses for registering rights of utility models, designs, trademarks and new intellectual properties. This is a powerful program as businesses involving intellectual property rights are expanding not only in manufacturing but information/telecommunication industries.
Also worth paying attention is “Support Program for Participating Domestic and Overseas Exhibitions” subsidizing participation expenses with up to \200,000 for domestic and up to \500,000 for overseas exhibitions. This covers only first participation in each of domestic and overseas exhibitions but participants would gain chances for their product exposures, which could enhance future business opportunities.
“Aids for Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute (TIRI) usage fees, etc.” also strongly backs up ventures and SMEs. This scheme pays up to \100,000 for fees charged by TIRI menus: on-site technology supports, proxy experiment/equipment use/order made development supports, use of product development support laboratory and so on. This is a distinctive support by the City which has been helping many SME manufacturers accumulated here.
In addition, “aids for expenses for building foreign language website” is available for businesses aiming globalization.
“Up to \100,000 is subsidized for expenses on translation, uses of automatic translation services enabling to display foreign language website, and the likes for companies wanting to add foreign language versions on their websites.
Finally introduced is “software development support program” which subsidizes up to \1 million for expenses needed to newly develop software products/technologies. It has been attracting great attentions as labor costs for developments are also covered.
“Made in Shinagawa” PR project is also worth mentioning as one of the City’s unique supports for manufacturing. In this project, the City certifies fine products/technologies developed/materialized by resident companies and help promote marketing them through PRs. The objectives also include enhancing images of Shinagawa manufacturing brand eventually.
The project started in fiscal 2012, and 17 products and technologies have been certified so far in fiscal 2015. Once certified, following benefits are gained:
Aids for certified products and technologies include space charges when presenting at exhibitions, usage fees of TIRI when brushing them up, sales promotion expenses, and so on.
Also, supports by sales promotion navigator of Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center and permissions of using “Made in Shinagawa PR Marks” are obtained.
They say “Made in Shinagawa” is not limited to manufacturers but open to information/telecommunication companies for applications. It is likely offering good opportunities to create products and information/telecom technologies which can be disseminated out of Shinagawa to Japan and the world.
Made in Shinagawa PR Mark
Pitot tube “Barflow Tube,” one of the Made in Shinagawa certified products in fiscal 2015, made by JMS Co., Ltd. It is a sensor for measuring gas flows, used in smokestacks at waste incinerator, steel and other plants. JMS boasts a pitot tube market share of 80% or more in Japan.