Japan Aims for Women to Make Up 20% of Entrepreneurs

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Support programs to increase the number of female entrepreneurs, with a goal of women making up 20% of them in five years, are being planned by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.

The programs were to be proposed Tuesday at a meeting of the Industrial Structure Council, which advises the economy minister.

The ministry hopes to encourage investment in women-led startups by providing overseas training and expanding support organizations.

Through the support programs, 30 female entrepreneurs and 10 female high school students will be sent to several U.S. locations, including Boston and Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurship is thriving, for about two weeks every year for the next five years.

To address the concerns of female entrepreneurs that they would be evaluated negatively in the event they become pregnant or give birth, the ministry will boost the number of consultation centers throughout Japan and hold events that pairs the centers with companies.

The Japan Investment Corporation (JIC), a public-private fund, will begin training female venture capitalists. About one in six venture capitalists in Japan is a woman, accounting for a smaller share than in western nations.

JIC President Keisuke Yokoo will lead a team specializing in the effort.

“With the backing of capitalists, the number of entrepreneurs will increase,” Yokoo said in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.