Ōita Backs Overseas Students to Revitalize Local Economy (News)


Ōita, May 25 (Jiji Press)—With its population shrinking, Ōita Prefecture has since fiscal 2016 ramped up efforts to help students from overseas who want to start businesses or work locally.

The southwestern prefecture has the largest number of international students per 100,000 population and hopes they will help revitalize the region's economy, officials said.

One such initiative is to offer opportunities for international students hoping to start their own businesses to meet investors. The prefecture devised a contest to discover students with promising ideas, selecting winners to receive individual coaching from consultants and draw up business plans based on their ideas. They will then be introduced to investment funds.

Through the system, the prefecture aims to lower the bar to starting a company by helping international students to secure funding of at least ¥5 million needed to obtain an investor and business manager visa.

A networking seminar held in the city of Ōita earlier this month attracted five companies located in the prefecture aiming to hire foreign students to drive their efforts to expand business overseas or serve overseas tourists. The president of a web-based cosmetics merchant noted: "Visitors to Japan are buying more and more makeup, and we want workers who can handle these customers. But the job fairs organized by universities tend to attract the big players headquartered in Tokyo, and it's tough to compete against them. This sort of locally organized event is most welcome."

A female student from South Korea attending the seminar praised it as a way to get information on prefectural firms. "I'd rather stay here in Ōita to work than head to Fukuoka or Tokyo, but it's been difficult in the past to discover the local companies that are hiring."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd. Content edited by the Nippon.com editorial team.]

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