Hawaii’s BoxJelly signs coworking deal with Japanese firm

Trans-Pacific partnership includes an Island Innovation demo day in May


Honolulu-based Jelly Works LLC, led by entrepreneury Rechung Fujihira, has formed a partnership with Tokyo-based Dentsu Inc. to offer an exchange membership program for their respective coworking facilities beginning today.

As part of the partnership, the companies will also launch an “Island Innovation Project” to support startups and entrepreneurs focusing on solutions and innovation relevant to island formations, such as Hawaii and Japan.

Hawaii is popular with Japanese citizens as a travel and immigration destination, but also for business. Members of this new program will be able to use co-working space in Hawaii at Jelly Works’ Box Jelly and in Kyoto at engawa KYOTO, Dentsu’s co-working space. Having the two locations available will connect and accelerate entrepreneurs’ business as well as support the launch of new businesses.

“It’s just really interesting thinking about islands facing similar challenges,” Fujihira tells HawaiiTech.com. “The team at dentsu is trying to move the needle with engawa to bridge arts culture and business, so we think a lot in many ways — even if they are part of a huge company and we’re relatively small.”

Dentsu established engawa KYOTO in Shijo Karasuma, Kyoto to help entrepreneurs connect and contribute the community in July of last year. Since then, engawa KYOTO has been developing programs to support and accelerate startups as they expand globally and has identified Hawaii as a perfect place to launch the project. Both share common issues such as plastic waste and seek innovation in tourism, sustainability and environment. This project will support not only Japanese startups entering U.S. market, but also support Hawaii startups accessing Japanese and further, Asian markets.

As part of the program launch, the companies will host an “Island Innovation Demo Day 2020” on May 2020 to provide startup companies with the opportunity to share ideas aimed at sustaining island culture and value. The event is supported by Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) and Kyoto city. Details of the event will be available at the end of February.

“Through this partnership, Dentsu is committed to not only supporting startups but also facilitating their relationships with enterprises worldwide. This is a great opportunity to cultivate and promote entrepreneurs in our community and for our community,” says Hiroki Maeda, Executive Project Director of Dentsu.

About Jelly Works LLC

BoxJelly, Hawaii’s leading coworking space was founded in 2011 by Rechung Fujihira. After growing beyond its original startup phase at Chaminade University, BoxJelly has become a thriving center for creation and innovation in Honolulu with two locations and a third location slated to open in early 2020 in Ward Center.

BoxJelly welcomes a diversified community of daily, monthly, and long-term tenants who work together to strive for greatness. The company and its members live strongly by the motto, “Work Hard, Live Better.”

About engawa KYOTO

engawa KYOTO is a base location to support the innovations of individuals, corporations and society, in the Shijo Karasuma area of Kyoto. With a members-only co-working and shared office space targeted at individuals and corporations as a platform, engawa KYOTO is a facility that connects the individuals and corporations that gather there and supports the co-creation of businesses that will one day bring vitality to Japan’s economy.

About Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC)

HTDC is a state agency, attached to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). HTDC’s mission is to facilitate the development and growth of Hawaii’s high technology industry. HTDC is providing capital, building infrastructure and fostering innovation to diversify Hawaii’s economy.

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