Strengthening Your Network

JMEC 20 Winners Announced


JMEC 20 Business Plan Competition Winners Announced Out-of-the-box solutions wow project clients in annual event TOKYO, 13 June, 2014—The Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) has announced the winners of the JMEC 20 program.

JMEC Executive Committee Chairman Tom Whitson said: “JMEC 20 had 66 highly motivated participants from 15 countries who overcame language and other barriers to cooperate in small teams to analyze market opportunities for JMEC project clients. They developed realistic business plans to crack the Japanese market. Their commitment and energy made them fun to work with.”

Twelve project clients—including SMEs, entrepreneurs and global companies— commissioned business plans tailored to their specific needs, for a very reasonable price. Some of Tokyo’s most successful foreign managers and business professionals trained, mentored and advised the teams as they developed their plans. Early feedback from project clients showed appreciation for the high-quality plans they received.

Mike Ropicky, Asia Pacific Vice President of Tektronix Communications and project client of the winning team, said: “Despite their diverse backgrounds outside of telecommunications, Team Don’t Give Up was able to clearly identify the underlying issues in our business. This group of talented individuals was able to propose a clear set of strategies that can quickly give us the enhanced market access and customer support capability we need to roll out value-added solutions. JMEC is great for the individuals participating—and enlightening for the companies that work with them.”

Mike Alfant, CEO of Fusion Systems Group and project client of the second-place team, said: “The JMEC team’s niche market research analysis, promotion strategy, and marketing materials provided me what I need to build a business around the JMEC blueprint. Team Sixth Sense evaluated competitors, interviewed potential users, and obtained focus group data which will allow me to position this new service in the Japanese market. They also showed me ways to leverage off other Fusion Systems Group capabilities to reduce costs and increase competitiveness.”

Philip O’Neill, McGill MBA Japan Program Director and project client for the third place team, said: “Our JMEC team compared us to our competitors, obtained focus group assessments of how our target market sees us, and developed a modern communication strategy that redirects our promotional spending to more effective ways to attract MBA candidates to our program and achieve our growth targets. Amazingly, JMEC TEAM 5*s proposed first-year improvements that save us several times the cost of their plan! Well done!”

Other project clients said this about their JMEC plans: Miyuki Suzuki, CEO of Jetstar Japan: “The JMEC team gave us insightful research analysis affecting our load factors and followed up with three different creative action plans focused on our target demographic to increase traffic on a specific Jetstar route. Team Infinity’s action plans were practical, feasible and within our budget.

JMEC’s three judges spent hours reviewing plans and presentations from each team. It was a close contest and the presentations were a very important factor to determine the top three plans, according to Debbie Howard, one of the judges.

The prizes included a Tablet Elitepad900 from Hewlett-Packard for each participant in the first-place team, return air tickets from British Airways for second and domestic air tickets from Jetstar Japan for third. Another judge, Rike Wootten, noted that—based on what the JMEC participants had learned about business planning skills and themselves—they were all clear winners. Whitson said: “I listened to the team presentations to the judges and I thought that they were practical, professional and action-oriented.”

Over 200 guests—including leaders of a number of embassies and foreign chambers of commerce in Japan—enjoyed drinks and a buffet at the JMEC 20 awards ceremony held on 11 June at Tokyo American Club and bought raffle tickets and auction items that raised money for the JMEC 21 program.

Founded in 1993 by the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan, JMEC is a non-profit business planning skills development training program supported by 17 foreign chambers of commerce in Japan. In the past 20 years, JMEC has trained more than 1,000 young business people, many of whom have gone on to rise in their companies or start their own businesses. Built around a business plan competition, JMEC provides classroom training followed by hands-on experience for up-and-coming managers living and working in Japan. To date, JMEC has provided 190 high-quality business plans to help companies entering or expanding in the Japanese market.

The JMEC 21 program will begin in August 2014 with information sessions where potential JMEC participants can find out more about the JMEC program and speak to JMEC Alumni and other potential participants. The participant application deadline is 15 October, 2014.

For more information about JMEC, please visit: For media enquiries about JMEC 20, please contact: Simon Farrell, Custom Media K.K. Tel: 03-6804-5267 E-mail:

For general enquiries or more information on becoming a JMEC 21 project client or participant, please contact: Trond Varlid, Program Director Tel: 03-5562-1444 E-mail: