The Tohoku University Startup Garage (TUSG) - an entrepreneurship development project - has opened two new centers on campus that will provide co-creation spaces for entrepreneurs and stakeholders from the university.
The Aobayama Garage is a shared space that can be used to create and nurture start-ups and ventures. Located near the Science Park at the new extension of Aobayama campus, the facility has desks, booths, an area for online meetings and a large reference library on entrepreneurship.
Students, faculty and staff, as well as those involved in supporting the enterprise, can use the facility as a shared office. Under appropriate conditions, and with the university's permission, users can also register a company using the facility.
The Kawauchi Garage, which is located within the Main Library on Kawauchi campus, offers users access to a wide array of publications and information on start-ups and entrepreneurship. This is aimed at helping students and staff who are looking to take the first step.
Both facilities began operations on February 1, and it is hoped that they will become hubs for entrepreneurial development, where university members and those involved in entrepreneurial support, can get together to form a vibrant start-up community.
With the economic landscape forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a growing demand for new industries and regional revitalization. To encourage entrepreneurship as a driving force for social change, Tohoku University made a "Start-up University Declaration" in late 2020 and established an Entrepreneur in Residence system to secure management candidates for university-launched ventures.
Since 2017, the university has also been engaged in a seamless venture support system. Under this system, Tohoku University fosters entrepreneurship through programs such as the "EARTH on EDGE" education consortium. It also supports feasibility analyses through a business incubation program, and invests in promising start-ups that originate from the university through the Tohoku University Venture Partners fund.
TUSG is a cornerstone of all these initiatives, providing a physical space for business pitches, seminars and workshops, as well as a platform for business and legal consultation and mentorship.
TUSG is run by members of the Tohoku University Center for Innovation and Business, in collaboration with a private venture capital accelerator, with whom researchers and students can consult. University alumni from all over the world are also on hand as mentors.
Anyone who is interested in using the facilities should visit the TUSG website or go directly to the garages, which are open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Shinya Ishikura (Director)
Center for Innovation and Business
Tohoku University Head Office of Enterprise Partnerships
Osamu Maegoya (Associate Expert)
Business Strategy Office
Tohoku University Industry-University Cooperation Department