METI launches “ASEAN-Japan Co-Creation Fast Track Initiative” to accelerate global open innovation of Japanese companies/startups

February 15, 2023

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), co-organising with Singapore government agencies, hold the first “Singapore-Japan Fast Track Pitch Event” in Singapore as a part of the “ASEAN-Japan Co-Creation Fast Track Initiative” to accelerate global open innovation of Japanese companies and startups.


In ASEAN, which is expected to become a growth center, driving the world economy, leapfrogging startups have been creating many innovations that solve social issues by utilizing digital technology in a wide range of fields such as logistics, payments, and finance. In addition, due to the young population structure and rapidly rising income levels, the size of the middle-income population that enjoys an affluent consumer lifestyle, especially in urban areas, is increasing.

For Japanese companies, it is becoming crucial to develop strategic collaboration with startups that are achieving rapid growth so that they can incorporate innovations that are newly created in the ASEAN region and improve their competitiveness in the growing ASEAN market.

With this understanding and taking the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation this year, METI and JETRO have decided to launch the “ASEAN-Japan Co-Creation Fast Track Initiative” to support the creation of open innovation through collaboration between startups and large companies from both ASEAN and Japan. This initiative proposes a new format of cooperation with ASEAN countries to create new innovations. 

Moreover, at the Japan-Singapore Economic Dialogue (JSED) held today, both sides affirmed further cooperation in the startup area. As a tangible collaboration project of the JSED, the first Singapore-Japan Fast Track Pitch Event (the “Fast Track Pitch Event”) will be held in Singapore and co-organized by METI, JETRO, the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry, Enterprise Singapore, and Singapore Economic Development Board.

Under the ASEAN-Japan Co-Creation Fast Track Initiative, startups will have the opportunity to (1) receive support not only from Japanese organizations such as JETRO, but also from the government agencies of ASEAN countries, and (2) access not only major Japanese companies but also a wide range of startup ecosystems, including global companies based in ASEAN.

The Fast Track Pitch Event in Singapore

At the first Fast Track Pitch Event in Singapore, 8 companies in total, including companies from Japan and Singapore-based global companies, provide challenges based on each company’s needs to create open innovation and call for solutions to each challenge from participating startups.

Today, each company’s challenges were announced on the following JETRO’s special website and the application process was opened for startups to submit proposals. Startups can submit their proposals through the special website. The deadline for proposals is March 19th, 2023.