Information to support new challenges and startups

Consistent support for startups and entrepreneurship in Okinawa!

Startup Lab Lagoon NAHA & Startup One-Stop Center

If you are looking for consultation on startups in Okinawa, then you may want to know about “Startup Lab Lagoon NAHA” and “Startup One-Stop Center”, which opened in Matsuyama, Naha City last September 2023. Both are situated in the DX base of SAKURA internet Inc. “SAKURA innobase Okinawa”, staffed by support professionals. They are conveniently located along Route 58 for easy access.

「「SAKURA  innobase okinawa」 in Matsuyama, Naha City where “Startup Lab Lagoon NAHA” and “Startup One-Stop Center” are situated.

“Startup Lab Lagoon NAHA” that support startups in Okinawa

“Startup Lab Lagoon NAHA”, the base of the Okinawa startup ecosystem, is a facility that supports people from inside and outside of Okinawa who are considering establishing a startup in Okinawa.

It is a place that supports the growth of companies from inside and outside of the prefecture that are looking to establish startups in Okinawa and creates opportunities for them to connect with investors and support organizations.

It is operated by the IT Innovation and Strategy Center Okinawa (ISCO).

Two to three staff members are stationed on weekdays.

They provide free consultations for such as:

(1) Market suitability and financing of products
(2) Introduction of useful events for starting a business
(3) Matching with business companies

If you make an appointment in advance and let them know what you wish to ask, they can give you a more detailed interview on the day of the meeting.

In Startup Lab Lagoon NAHA
Mr. Hikaru Kanemura, Senior Project Manager of IT Innovation and Strategy Center Okinawa (ISCO)

Since startups go through phased growth stages, they require a menu of support from various sectors in collaboration with industry-academia-government in the prefecture. Being able to easily ask for advice on even the most trivial questions about the current state of your organization and what you do not know, is the strength of this facility.

Mr. Kanemura, ISCO Senior Project Manager and a member of the Okinawa Startup Ecosystem says, “A startup is “a business that has not yet proven its worth in the world”. It is ideal to get a job, or to take on what you want to do, or take on a new project at the company you are currently working for. In reality, however, you need a certain amount of authority before you can take on those challenges. 

People who think that the time until then is a waste, or people who want to do something they are passionate about, even going against the opposition of those around them, could be the ones who are aiming to become a start-up. If you believe you’re one of them, please visit us for a consultation.

“Startup One-Stop Center” that accompanies social entrepreneurs in Okinawa

The types of startups that have sprung up in Okinawa so far are extremely varied and wide-ranging.

They range from camp equipment sharing, matching fishing boats with anglers, AI-based driving services, and startups created by researchers at the University of the Ryukyus and Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) based on scientific discovery techniques known as “deep tech”.

Furthermore, since Okinawa is a repertory of social issues, many people are passionate about solving social issues around them and have decided to start their businesses.

The “Startup One-Stop Center”, established at the same location as “Startup Lab Lagoon NAHA”, supports such social entrepreneurs.

The center will be operated by “UmuSun Lab Inc.” In cooperation with Okinawa Prefecture, they will provide start-up support and business growth assistance to entrepreneurs in Okinawa, especially those who aim to solve social issues.

Mr. Onishi (left) and Ms. Yoshiyama of Umusun Lab Inc., which operates the “Startup One-Stop Center”. They are knowledgeable and reliable people

The “Startup One-Stop Center” has two main functions.

(1) Screening for the adoption of prefectural subsidies for business start-ups, which are provided up to 2 million yen to those who are going to start a business, and providing accompaniment support to the adopted companies

(2) Providing a program to accompany and support the necessities and business model for starting a business

For (2), a 4-month start-up support program is being implemented in collaboration with  taliki, Inc., which supports the development of social entrepreneurs through fund business, etc. In FY2023, 12 companies have participated in the program.

Companies with a vision of solving social issues, not limited to those in Okinawa, are often start-ups, but there are also difficulties unique to social entrepreneurs. For example, 

  • Is it really a social issue?
  • Is it a business model that can be monetized?
  • Which institutions to rely on?

The sustainability of the business is greatly affected by whether the entrepreneurs themselves have a clear understanding of these.

Mr. Onishi of Umusun Lab Inc., which operates the center, says, “Through our business, we also want to convey the message that social entrepreneurs are not volunteers. If we create a structure as a business, it will generate compensation.”

The company is also focusing on the management of an impact fund designed to solve local issues, the first of its kind in Okinawa, and can also be consulted here.

The Impact Fund, which targets social entrepreneurs and startups that aim to solve local issues in Okinawa, has 175 million yen of the total amount of the operation, and its term is 10 years.

They hope to make this new fund known in Okinawa by adding social impact to the return axis, which is different from general venture impact funds that consider only economic return.

“Through this project, we feel that there are many entrepreneurs in Okinawa who are willing to challenge social issues. We hope that we can help them create a mechanism to monetize their businesses by attending to their thoughts about the business. Since Okinawa has a mountain of issues, I hope that by supporting companies that solve social issues, Okinawa will really make Okinawa a better place.” He says.

For those who aspire to start a business with a vision of social issues, we suggest you consult with the “Startup One-Stop Center” operated by Umusun Lab, which has a wealth of experience and achievements in this area.

“SAKURA  innobase Okinawa” – supporting startups in Okinawa by providing facilities

“Startup Lab Lagoon NAHA” and “Startup One-Stop Center” are located in “SAKURA innobase Okinawa”, the DX base of SAKURA internet Inc. The company is also a member of the Okinawa Startup Ecosystem Consortium. In addition to supporting startups in Okinawa by providing facilities, the company holds various events at the facility to develop human resources for the purpose of creating IT businesses.

Mizuki Shimabukuro, a community manager who is herself from Okinawa, said, “We are pleased to be involved in the operation of this facility and to be able to support startups and entrepreneurs who love Okinawa. Our CEO, Tanaka, often says, ‘I want a society that is friendly to people who are changing. I hope that this is a place where startups can interact and motivate each other,” she hoped.

Interview and Japanese Text by Kanako Inafuku

Startup Lab Lagoon NAHA & Startup One-Stop Center

Facility Details

Address: Haseko Naha Building 1F, 1-2-13 Matsuyama, Naha City, Okinawa
Facilities: Stage, Streaming equipment, projector, Wi-Fi, white board, desk
HP & Inquiries:
[Startup Lab Lagoon NAHA] [Startup One-Stop Center]
Address: Haseko Naha Building 1F, 1-2-13 Matsuyama, Naha City, Okinawa
TEL: 080-9855-6044 
Days and hours of operation: Available hours: Weekdays 11:00 ~ 18:00
Closed: Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, and year-end and New Year holidays (12/29 ~ 1/3)Excluding event days


Recomended Facilities

If you are considering starting a business in Okinawa
or would like information about entrepreneurship,
please feel free to contact us.