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The Japanese city of Tsukuba is home to 150 universities and research institutes that have yielded 4 Nobel Prize winners. 20,000 of the city’s 245,000 residents are working in the research sector. “The City of Tsukuba hosts an aggregation of advanced research institutes such as the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Space Centre, which have great potential to accelerate innovation,” says Yuriko Matsuno, Executive Director of the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office (LTIO) in Tokyo. “The city provides extensive support to start-ups and attracts numerous innovative countries from abroad.”

Luxinnovation and the City of Tsukuba signed a partnership to support innovative companiesPotential synergies with Luxembourg abound. A European hub for new space activities and an increasingly attractive location of innovative start-ups, Luxembourg is also internationally recognised for its research excellence in several fields. The national innovation agency Luxinnovation and the City of Tsukuba therefore signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation and provide opportunities for innovative companies that want to expand their activities to a new continent. The signature took place in the context of an official visit of Luxembourg’s Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot to Japan.

Supporting the expansion of innovative companies

According to the agreement, the two partners will work together to provide innovative companies in Tsukuba interested in coming to Luxembourg, and Luxembourg companies wishing to go to Tsukuba, with relevant information and access to the right contacts in local governments, research centres, start-up support organisations and private companies. They will co-organise events and webinars and inform and advise start-ups and established companies on how they could benefit from each location for their global expansion.

Companies from Tsukuba can benefit from tailor-made onsite visits in Luxembourg and receive advice on how to establish subsidiaries here. Luxembourg start-ups have the opportunity to use co-working space in Tsukuba Startup Park at no cost.

“We are eager to actively collaborate with business support agencies outside of Japan to encourage the growth of start-ups aiming to expand their business globally,” says Tatsuo Igarashi, Mayor of ht eCity of Tsukuba. “We are looking forward to seeing our collaboration incubating more start-up companies both in Tsukuba and Luxembourg which can solve various global issues.”

Exploring synergies

“The Memorandum of Understanding signed today provides us with excellent opportunities to explore synergies between Tsukuba and Luxembourg in fields such as space technologies and material sciences, where both regions are on the cutting edge,” comments Mario Grotz, Luxinnovation’s Board Chair who signed the agreement of behalf of the agency. “Luxinnovation will pave the way for innovative companies from Tsukuba that wish to benefit from Luxembourg as a base for their European expansion, and I’m convinced that Luxembourg start-ups that want to scale up their activities in Japan will benefit greatly from the support provided by the City of Tsukuba.”

Luxinnovation will pave the way for innovative companies from Tsukuba that wish to benefit from Luxembourg as a base for their European expansion.

LTIO Tokyo is the first port of call for Japanese companies wanting to explore whether Luxembourg would be a relevant destination for their European offices or headquarters. “Thanks to the cooperation between the City of Tsukuba and Luxembourg, I hope to see Tsukuba-based start-ups participate in tech events in Luxembourg to discover the business environment and ecosystem there,” says Ms Matsuno.

Photos: Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office Tokyo

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