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Flanders’ startup ecosystem strengthens ties with Japan’s

Flanders’ startups are growing and internationalizing with flying colors, putting Flanders on the map as a tech-driven region. To further boost this dynamic, Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon previously announced Startup.Flanders, a new platform powered by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) and deployed for the first time during the Belgian economic mission to Japan from 5 to 9 December 2022. Adding to the momentum, FIT has signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with its Japanese counterpart, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

The goal is to jointly support young innovative companies from Flanders and Japan while strengthening international collaboration between both startup ecosystems.

In the picture: FIT CEO Joy Donné and JETRO Executive Vice President Ichiro Soné sign MoC in the presence of Flanders' Minister-President Jan Jambon.

Opening international doors

There’s no denying that Flanders’ startup ecosystem is doing great in terms of both growth and internationalization. According to a recent report, the region’s ecosystem even ranks among Europe’s strongest-growing startup hubs over the past five years. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Japan’s start-ups are also becoming ever more successful and increasingly looking to make connections with other innovative companies both at home and abroad.

But while the two economies are highly complementary when it comes to innovation and internationalization opportunities, there was still room to bring the two business environments closer together and open even more international doors for startups from both ecosystems.

Opportunities arise when ecosystems unite

That’s why Flanders and Japan decided to join forces in the spirit of open innovation collaboration. As such, Flanders’ and Japan’s government agencies for international business – FIT and JETRO, respectively – have signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC). This happened on Monday 5 December 2022, the first day of the five-day Belgian economic mission to Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, led by HRH Princess Astrid and Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon. The two signing organizations were represented by FIT CEO Joy Donné and JETRO Executive Vice President Ichiro Soné.

Flanders has one of Europe’s fastest growing startup ecosystems – and we want to keep this growth going. Our ambition to support startups is something we share with Japan. By signing an MoC, FIT and JETRO will be working more closely together to help both Flanders-based and Japanese startups expand their international reach and boost their innovative impact.

Joy Donné
CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade

As part of the MoU, FIT and JETRO agree to share more information with each other while collaborating on initiatives that connect tech ecosystem players from both Flanders and Japan. The two organizations will also work together to identify promising young innovative companies, help them speed up their internationalization process and connect them with relevant partners on both sides of the world.

Case in point: Fujitsu and Settlemint

Highlighting the opportunities offered by the increasingly strong ties between Flanders and Japan, two companies – one from each ecosystem – joined the delegation during the MoU signing. Just a few days earlier, Japanese tech multinational Fujitsu Limited and Flanders-based blockchain scale-up Settlemint announced that they have entered a global strategic agreement to accelerate the digital transformation of the Fujitsu Enterprise Blockchain and Track & Trust Solutions.

The strong partnership between Fujitsu Limited and Settlemint – coupled with their focus on co-creation and co-innovation – serves as an inspiring example of what collaboration between Flanders-based and Japanese companies can look like. The mutual opportunities arising from this strong bond are numerous.

Joy Donné
CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade

More info

Flanders Investment & Trade
Reported by
Flanders Investment & Trade
5 December 2022

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