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GREAT Weeks

UK in JAPAN 2019-20 campaign is a series of events organized principally by the British Embassy Tokyo running up to September 2020 to coincide with the Rugby World Cup, the Tokyo 2020Olympics and Paralympics. In the field of Business, Science and Innovation this includes five GREAT Weeks, the first of which took place in September 2019 on the theme of Future of financial services, with a focus on fintech and cyber security.

Gideon Franklin collaborates with the British Embassy in Japan regularly. This has included our Megatech: Technology in 2050 seminar in 2017. We have held two M&A Teach-In seminars over the last three years for embassy members of staff in Tokyo and Osaka, the background to which is how the UK, as well as being the number 1 location in Europe for Foreign Direct Investment more generally, has also consistently been the top destination in Europe for M&A by Japanese companies, representing a significant component of investment.

The five GREAT Weeks

September 2019: Future of Financial Services
Showcasing the UK’s leading policy areas in financial services, introducing the UK as a global hub and partner for fintech and cyber security

February 2020: Clean Growth
Promoting UK policy and technical expertise in offshore wind, encouraging decarbonisation as part of a sustainable future

May 2020: Future Mobility
A broad focus on mobility, as well as covering core UK strengths such as autonomous driving, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), low emissions, cyber security, and development of smart cities. Exploring solutions to issues such as mobility and access for disabled people, linking through to the Paralympics

June 2020: Healthy Ageing
Highlighting the scale of the challenge posed by ageing societies and the opportunities it presents, proposing UK-Japan collaboration and future partnership

July 2020: CreativeTech
Showcasing the UK as a global leader for creativity and how art and design intersects with new technologies such as AI and CreativeTech.

Tech Rocketship Awards

A special award is being offered to companies in the four categories of technology represented by the GREAT weeks. Here is how the awards are described by the British Ambassador to Japan Paul Madden in an article in the Nikkei Asian Review:

Winners will be ambitious, globally scalable businesses, which can demonstrate their fit with the U.K. and European market and their readiness for international expansion.

The chosen startups will win a trip to the U.K. in June 2020 where they will have a program of meetings with advisers, potential investors and leading players in the broader tech ecosystem, to expedite them setting up in the U.K. They will also have the opportunity to attend London Tech Week.

The Tech Rocketship Awards offer the perfect opportunity for Japanese startups. You can use the U.K.’s world-leading research and development ecosystem to turbocharge your innovation and expand your business into new markets.

Further details including application procedures are available on the Tech Rocketship Awards page of the UK in JAPAN 2019-20 website. The closing date is 31 January 2020.

Future of Financial Services

The week showcased the UK as a hub for innovation in finance with a key objective of strengthening partnerships between Japan and UK for businesses, regulators and government.

Clare Black from Innovate Finance gave a keynote speech. Innovate Finance is an independent UK industry body for fintech with over 250 members ranging from seed-stage start-ups to global financial institutions and professional services firms. The company describes its role as being to connect the UK’s global fintech community. She talked about how the UK provides a great environment to nurture fintech with its regulatory understanding and incentives.

This was followed by a presentation by Nick Cook, first director of the newly created Innovation division of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). He outlined the so-called “regulatory sandbox”, open to authorised firms, unauthorised firms that require authorisation and technology businesses that are looking to deliver innovation in the UK financial services market. Details are available on the website https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/innovation/regulatory-sandbox. Since its inception in May 2016 over 100 firms have participated in five cohorts.

Darren Goff, Head of Investment at the British Embassy chaired a panel discussion on a Fintech Night at the Embassy, followed by a pitch session by 11 Fintech companies: B2C2, CCL, CriticalBlue, CyNation, Elliptic, Evolution AI, Heliocor, iProov, Protective Intelligence, reinfer and Thought Machine.

See more here about this first GREAT Week (text Japanese only), including a nice infographic produced by the City of London saying why the UK accounts for 11% of the global fintech industry.