From the left, Toshiaki Miura, Jun Kobori, Yuki Miyahara
Management Support Department, Trade and Industry Division, Arakawa City
Tokyo Metropolitan Government launched a new“Regional Industry Revitalization Support Project" from FY2015 in order to revitalize industrial clusters and regional industries in Tokyo. Through use of this project, wards and municipalities are required to formulate a "Regional Industry Revitalization Plan" that incorporates industrial promotion measures focusing on building networks created by local industry leaders.
Here, among the cities that received approval in FY2015, we will introduce the efforts of Arakawa City. Even thought the MACC (Monozukuri Arakawa City Cluster) Project created to implement efforts on industrial promotion within the citywas launched in FY2006,it is expected that this movement will be accelerated by promoting the regional industry revitalization project.
I interviewed Toshiaki Miura from the Arakawa City Industrial Economics Department Business Support Division, Jun Kobori who is Assistant Section Chief and Head of Business Support Division in the same department, and Yuki Miyahara, Head of Industrial Revitalization in the same Department as well.
IIn addition to subsidies, there are also experts providing advices on capital investment and management
The Arakawa City regional industry revitalization plan consists of three pillars. The first one is a "subsidy for strengthening business capability of small-scale business operators” which covers part of concerned expenses, and supports up to one quarter of the expenditures required when establishing facilities and other institutions that lead to a strengthening of management capabilities.
“It is available for companies of 20 employees or less related to manufacturing industry, and companies of 5 employees or more related to wholesale industry, retail industry, and service industry, and business entities that continued their activities in this city for 10 years or more and intend to continue business in this city from now on.There are four menus, with the first one for equipment assistance. It covers manufacturing equipment, machinery, printing machines, etc. (up to 1 million yen).The second one is to assist women's success, and is available to cover expenses related to female locker rooms, nursery schools, etc(up to 1 million yen).The third one is a supplementary aid to strengthen ICT sales force, and it is subsidized for the construction of internet sales sites (up to 200,000 yen).The fourth one is an assistance in customers attraction, and covers registers, simple lighting devices, etc. (up to 50,000 yen). (Mr. Kobori / Mr. Miura)
In 2016, special cases were added to the above.The subsidy rate is of one-third for businesses that plan to have their activities continuing within 5 years, business operators planning to do so within five years after implementation, as well as for businesses and other operators planning the establishment of a second business within one year, and the maximum amount will be increased to 3 million yen in case of equipment assistance.
Certification ceremony of the "Regional Industry Revitalization Partners"
The second pillar is the “Project for Problem Solving Support with Collaborative-type Local Credit Union”.This aims to revitalize local industries by training the “assessment ability” of the personnel working in local financial institution located within the city, in other words, identify among others the future potential and issues of companies situated in the city, and provide appropriate solutions. As municipal approach, it represents a milestone.
"Originally it was a curriculum for local industry revitalization proposed by Yamagata University. The university cooperated with regional financial institutions located in Yamagata Prefecture, implementing training courses for sales officials and other activities to cultivate their assessment ability. In 2008, Yamagata University and Arakawa City, who were in charge of that training, had a collaborative agreement including industry promotion, and the "Arakawa City Version" was created. During June and July 2016, there was a total of 4 days training for the staff of five credit banks located in the city, and visits and hearings of cooperative companies, as well as analysis and research on strengths and weaknesses, strategy planning for marketing and new market development were implemented. In the end, participants completed a presentation on growth and improvement plans for the cooperating companies. Twenty-four people with certain results were certified as "Regional Industry Revitalization Partners”. Currently, we are developing marketing activities that make practical use of the profitability cultivated through the curriculum, and I am very much looking forward to the report on progress submitted once a year from now on.” (Mr. Miyahara)
Last time “Arakawa City Business Plan Contest" Award Ceremony (2015)
The third pillar is a project supporting the creation and establishment of new businesses aiming at generating new activities that would lead to the resolution of local issues and revitalization.
"A symbolic approach is the "Arakawa City Business Plan Contest", which has been held every year since FY2013. Although the winner can receive preferential treatment regarding the subsidy system amount limit and the number of subsidies implemented by the city, the characteristic is that in addition to the above, a follow-up is implemented in order to realize business objectives not only for the winner but also for the finalists after the event. In other words, the award is not a goal in itself but a start."(Mr. Miyahara)
It seems that the follow-up makes the plan more concrete, aiming to ensure the revitalization of regional industry by providing support to make it grow into an actual business.
In Arakawa City, the creation of a “Network in which faces are visible” centered on the city has been progressing so far. The objective of this network is about increasing opportunities for industrial , academic, public and financial institutions (banks) to face each other directly, and bringing new exchanges and collaborations. Although it is said that it has steadily advanced so far, this time, it looks like we can expect this movement to accelerate for the efforts of the city have been approved by the metropolitan government.