Assistant Manager Hiratsuka
Citizen Affairs Department, Life and Economics Section, Industry Promotion Division, Musashino City
In September 2014, Musashino City launched the “Musashino Business Founding Support Net” in collaboration with business operators assisting people who wish to establish their business in the city. With a network consisting of six organizations that includes the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Shinkin Bank, it is centered on the one-stop service counter “Musashino Business Founding Assistance Corner” located within the City Hall, and provides assistance that covers business founding discussions up to the follow-up after founding. In continuation of this initiative, the “Musashino Business Founding Support Facility Establishment Assistance Project” was started as a business founding assistance project. We asked Kaori Hiratsuka, the Citizen Affairs Department, Life and Economics Section, Industry Promotion Division Assistant Manager, regarding its content.
“The Musashino Business Founding Support Facility Establishment Assistance Project” is a project that was approved after applying to Japan’s 2015 “Regional Creation Acceleration Subsidy,” and it offers assistance that covers part of the facility maintenance and operating expenditures for business operators newly establishing / managing founding support facilities that target mainly women who want to found their business in the city.
"The primary feature is to support the establishment and operation of business founding assistance facilities targeting women. In addition, although there are cases in which private business operators create founding assistance facilities and receive support from the country and Tokyo, I think that there are not many precedents where one municipality gives subsidies to the same case."
The source of revenue is made of two structures that include the abovementioned Regional Creation Acceleration Subsidy (20 million yen) and the Musashino City separate budget (14 million yen), and the main requirements to receive support are the following six provisions:
(1) To establish facilities in the city in FY2016,
(2) To place counselors supporting business development of applicants who want to found a business,
(3) To join the local Store Association,
(4) To conduct regional contribution projects,
(5) To carry out activities in collaboration with the Musashino Business Founding Support Net,
(6) The period of use is set to within 3 years in the case of having individual rooms available only to users.
The subsidy proportion / subsidy maximum amount is three quarters (10 million yen) for facilities targeting women and two-thirds (7 million yen) for general business founding assistance facilities.
There were applications from seven companies. All of them were proposals from companies that support women's business founding, and the following four companies were selected by the Jury:
●TOWN KITCHEN Co., Ltd.
Shared kitchen that uses an empty store to sell food and drinks
●Management Brain Co., Ltd.
Shared office, and intercourse space for women
●Flat Design General Incorporated Association
Shared kitchen, challenge café, rental kitchen car
●swivel & knot Co., Ltd.
Co-working space combined with a café
These four business founding assistance facilities managed by business operators were opened by March 2017.
“During the selection, we mainly focused on ‘how to connect with the regional community’. Although Musashino City industry is mainly commercial, the number of old shopping districts has steadily declined as the social structure and lifestyle are changing. We would like to become something that brings energy to such shopping districts.”
i-dream Kichijoji : A variety of support is available, such as cooking classes, culture courses, seminars, holding of exhibitions /sales events, etc.
So, what kind of facility is a business founding assistance facility managed by a private company? The entrepreneur support salon "i-dream Kichijoji" operated by the abovementioned Management Brain Company, opened in February 2017, and is a 3-minute walk from Kichijoji station.
i-dream Kichijoji mainly targets women who are aiming to become entrepreneurs during child rearing or after raising their children. There is a "rental space" which can be used for seminars and individual workshops, a "kitchen" where cooking classes and parties can be held, and it offers also a permanent "rental box" set for commissioned sales. The range of support content is wide and vigorously active, covering company consultation, various seminars, business founding classes, intercourse meeting, sales events, EC site exhibits support, and other activities. The slogan of i-dream Kichijoji is "gathering × learning / teaching × earning.” Based on the philosophy that entrepreneurs must raise their profits, they have prepared a variety of support programs.
8K MUSASHISAKAI (Photo：Ryokan Abe)
Following this facility, from March, the "8K MUSASHISAKAI" (operated by TOWN KITCHEN) which allows the production and sale of prepared dish, confectionery, bread, and the like in a kitchen shared by eight people,
as well as the "MIDOLINO_" (operated by Flat Design) with seven kitchens to create a service that enriches regional life with a focus on “food,”
Start up Café
and finally the "Start up Café” (operated by Swivel and Knot) a coworking facility combined with a café for women who want to establish business during the day which at night turns into a space for businessmen, have started their business founding assistance, each of them making use of their know-how.
It looks like Musashino City and these business founding assistance facilities will draw even more attention in the future.