The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that coordinates official development assistance for the Japanese government in developing countries, has announced the launch of the NINJA Business Plan Competition for businesses emerging during the COVID-19 outbreak. NINJA is short for Next Innovation with Japan.
- Health: Online healthcare support; disease-testing solutions; medical data sharing and privacy protection solutions; distribution of drugs and medical equipment; IoT, including 3D printers, in the medical field
- Disaster management: Geo-tracking during disasters; emergency information dissemination
- Business services: Support for remote workers; efficient management/operation of online events
- Education sector: Remote learning support
- Food and agriculture: Efficient food/commodity distribution technology
- Finance: Contactless transactions/payment; lending/insurance services to SMEs and individuals
- Logistics: delivery service, urban mobility management
- Other: Substituting imported goods with local innovative technology
- Winners from each country will be given a chance to sign a work contract with JICA for their innovation(s).
- Winners will be eligible for equity/debt-free sum of upto USD 30000 by JICA for covering costs associated with the proposed activities including, 1) remuneration of staffs, 2) other expenses, and 3) indirect local tax.
- Winners may also get the opportunity to travel to Japan for further investments and business partnerships sponsored by JICA.
- Organisations with their head office or a branch in one of the target countries.
- Profit/non-profit organisations registered as an independent legal entity. Proposals from individuals will not be considered.
- Companies with a very strong management team of at least 2 people.
- Businesses that have an innovative product(s) or service(s) in response or adaptable to the Pandemic and post-pandemic society OR have a feasible business plan to create prototypes (MVP).
- Applicants must meet all criteria mentioned.
- The proposal should introduce some level of innovation in terms of a business model, a new product or service that can be more actively used, and/or profitability in the current and post COVID-19 era.
- Proposals should be as commercially-oriented as possible.
- JICA may establish an evaluation board with outside evaluators experts under strict confidentiality to evaluate proposals.
- Each country will have 8 to 10 finalists out of which up to 5 winners will be selected.
- Winners from each country will participate in the grand finale.
For more information, visit https://www.jica.go.jp/COVID-19/en/responses/prospects/20200706.html