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This past week has been full of exciting events (and I am finally relaxed today, Saturday, to reflect and appreciate them!) .  I will write about them in a series, but let me  start with  the Women Initiative Forum 2013 in Tokyo held at Nikkei Hall. This is organized by Nihon Keizai Shimbun , sponsored by Cartier, Richemont Japan Limited which hosts Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, as well as McKinsey & Company. Inc.

It was the third of its kind and featured three female entrepreneurs.  The key note speaker was Lianna Gunawan of La Spina shoes of Indonesia who was Asia Pacific finalist of the Cartier Award.  Her story was very inspiring and the shoes she markets are extraordinary.  I happen to know some initiative in Indonesia to promote creative economy for the country’s competitiveness and was very much looking forward to seeing Lianna.   We displayed some of her shoes which are very pretty at the Nikkei Hall during and after the Forum.

Her presentation at the Women’s Initiative Forum 2013  with video clip not only from  the Award ceremony in France (which was very moving) but with some story about the crafts in Indonesia was so impressive.  (In fact, we had dinner the night before where I had a chance to talk with her quite extensively.  )  I was particularly impressed with the way she began her business (nothing fancy, but very much down-to- earth and at the same time, very shrewd in capturing the opportunities) as it gave me a lot of insights.

NikkeiwifI moderated the panel after her key note speech with two Japanese entrepreneurs who joined Lianna.  Yuriko Kato  of M2-labo has a agribusiness (I am not sure whether this is the right way to describe her business) with grand vision of globalizing the business  with  the unique  concept of “VegiProvider”, very innovative concept, to bridge the gap between the consumers and the producers in agriculture.  Her background of being an engineer etc. is so interesting (in addition to her blog on Nikkei) that I could not but wish great success for her.(Photo showing 4 of us during the preparation.)

The other panelist was Atsuko Horie, in 20s, founder of the company, Sourire, with another creative concept of work-life internship for students.  Her idea of connecting the students and young couple with career and children is so innovative and so insightful that I believe it has great potential to scale up.  The way she told her story was so enthusiastic and engaging that I am sure it captured the heart of the audience.

The Q & A with the floor was very lively and I was very pleased.  I encouraged the audience to think of the business close to our life, but be ambitious in making the plan to the global scale and to think of it as “business”.  I introduced my own project of DET(Davos Experience in Tokyo Series), as an easy entry to practice being a global person and to build network with people with same ambitions.  I wished we had more time to interact with the audience (We did some as the shoes were  displayed in the hall and many people took photos etc.)   At the reception held afterwards by Cartier, I met with many more people and had a great time.   I am grateful that I was given such a  great opportunity to meet and work with inspiring entrepreneurs and interacting with motivated people in the audience.  It was a long day (I started early in the morning!) , but was a very inspiring and energizing day for me.

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