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Successful Completion of Glocal Innovator Development Program (Karuizawa 2nd Session) -Development and Growth Opportunity for both Students and Business Professionals-

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(The photo pose shows the initial "K" for Karuizawa!)

The Healthcare Innovation Association is pleased to announce the successful completion of the Glocal Innovator Development Program, Karuizawa 2nd Session.

In the Karuizawa 1st session (March 17-21, 2023), the main scope was developing inbound strategies for the Karuizawa Prince Hotel West, and addressing issues at the Karuizawa Gardenfarm where visitors can pick premium strawberries in Karuizawa. On top of 1st session's scope, the 2nd session newly addressed regional healthcare challenges with the cooperation of "Hotchi-No Lodge with a clinic and a large kitchen" operated by the Orange Medical & Social Services.

Approximately 40 selected participants from university students and business professionals collaborated in this Program. They approached regional issues in Karuizawa from their own perspectives, listening to the voices of the local community while proposing solutions to promote regional revitalization.

Program Overview of Karuizawa 2nd Session


Following a kickoff event at Japan Tobacco headquarters on February 24, 2024, participants visited Karuizawa from March 8 to 10, 2024. The students and business professionals were assigned into six teams (A, B, C, D, E, F ) to tackle regional issues. A pitch contest by the students was held on March 10, 2024 (final day in Karuizawa), and guest evaluators were invited from Karuizawa Prince Hotel West, Hotchi-No Lodge, Karuizawa Gardenfarm, and PLAY, inc.

Awards were given for the best presentation and the second best presentation, and the audience favorite presentation was selected by all participants.

The Audience Favorite Award went to Team A, which addressed issues at the strawberry farm.


The Best Presentation was awarded to Team F (FIMBY), which focused on healthcare issues, with the theme "Consideration for Life and Death in Karuizawa."


The 2nd Best Presentation was awarded to Team B (TPA), which tackled inbound tourism challenges, with the theme "Attracting Tourists from the Islamic World through Halal Certification."


Participant Feedback

Takahiro Ishida (A guest researcher at Teikyo University, Doctor of Public Health, University of Massachusetts MBA, Registered Pharmacist in Japan), the leading founder of this program mentioned, "I started this program as a pro bono activity with my friends last year to give the valuable opportunity with business professionals to the students who lost the opportunities of face-to-face discussions due to COVID-19 pandemic. The 1st session was so touching to us that we saw some students and business professionals crying during the closing session. In this 2nd session, we added 'healthcare' as a new agenda which was really challenging to inexperienced students and young business professionals. However, I'm glad to see a healthcare team (FIMBY) was awarded as the best presentation. I would like to continue this program as long as we can get sustainable support from local stakeholders and future participants."

Rintaro Shimoda (A student from Chuo University, Faculty of Literature) from the winning strawberry team chosen by all participants commented, "Before joining the program, I did not have self-confidence. However, this interacting opportunities with business professionals and other students absolutely broadened my scope and boosted my self-confidence."

Ikuo Fujinaga (Japan Tobacco Inc., Arclev, Inc. mentioned, "As a business professional in a healthcare team (E),We tackled difficult issues such as the complexity of interests among regional stakeholders. It was quite challenging even for business professionals, but it was an ultimately great experience for all of us. Being part of this pro bono program, it allowed us to engage each other, and build up the sustainable harmonized community in a meaningful way."


(The photo was taken in Hotchi-No Lodge on March 8, 2024.)

Activities and Survey Results

Before arriving in Karuizawa, the healthcare teams conducted consultations from doctors and nurses. This groundwork allowed for deeper insights into local healthcare challenges and more practical proposals.

Participants, upon visiting Karuizawa, engaged in field research through direct interviews with local stakeholders, providing valuable experiences in seeking solutions from various perspectives.

Survey results from the 39 participants showed high Net Promoter Scores (NPS) more than 50 across almost all questions. The results indicated that both students and business professionals felt their personal growth, and built up trust with other participants.

Future Prospects

Tomoya Ookado (The program director, MBA from Waseda University Business School), expressed his deep gratitude towards all participants, related parties, and the local community in Karuizawa. He shared his mind with enthusiasm, 'The success of this program was due to the support and effort from everyone involved. Every year, I was inspired by the energy of both students and business professionals. Based on this experience, we are committed to further contribution to regional society, and driving regional revitalization.'.

Moving forward, we plan to expand this "Glocal Innovator Development Program" to involve global stakeholders. We will continue promoting the growth of students and the career development of business professionals, as well as regional revitalization. Based on the experiences and lessons learned from Karuizawa 2nd Session, we will strengthen socially contributing activities with global perspectives.

For those who are interested in the program, or wishing to support it, please contact the Healthcare Innovation Association via the email address provided below.


一般社団法人ヘルスケアイノベーション協会 Healthcare Innovation Association