FEATURED MEMBER - Koichiro Shimizu
Interview - June 2005
President, LearningEdge Co., Ltd.
Profile - Shimizu:
Koichiro Shimizu is the president of LearningEdge Co., Ltd. He had worked for ABeam (Former
"Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting") and a venture company after graduating from Keio University. In
Deloitte, he worked for various companies (US consumer product, US auto, French Gas, French life
insurance, UK mobile phone, Dutch life insurance, Japanese pharmaceutical, etc) as a CRM IT strategy
consultant. He established his company in 2003 and has developed "seminars" (www.seminars.jp) which
is a portal website of seminars. Amazon.com is selling books on internet, "seminars" is selling
seminars on internet. Now he is focusing on this "seminars" to be the No.1 seminar portal web site.
Interview with Shimizu:
1. When did you start your first business? What was it? What lessons did you take away from that experience?
My first business started when I was a Keio University student. I was selling study materials for
elementary school students as a commission-based sales person. It was a really good experience to learn how
to sell in a cold market and how to communicate with people.
2. What are some of the challenges you have faced in starting your business and how did you overcome them?
Basically I believe I am really optimistic, but still I had some challenges. One of the challenges
was raising funds. I revised my presentation to explain my business plan again and again and made so
many presentations to investors. It was a really good experience.
3. How did you form your business? (Yugen Kaisha, Kabushiki Kaisha, etc.) How long did the start-up process take?
I established Kabusiki Kaisha. I think I took 2 - 3 months.
4. Where do you see your business in 5 years?
We are focusing on an IPO. The seminar market (currently 600 Billion Yen market size, including corporate
education) is getting larger and larger. People are starting to realize that they need to get more
skills and wisdom to survive in this competitive society. We would like to provide the opportunity of
"edutainment" for people who are highly motivated to study.
5. Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur? Why?
Yes I do. Because one of my identities is a great entrepreneur. I am always thinking how my business
should be, even when I am in bed or in the bathroom, 24 hours a day.
6. What is your definition of an entrepreneur?
Person who can produce added values. Also who have a clear vision, are disciplined, have passion inside
and are doing win-win business with conscience.
7. What piece of advice would you give to a person wanting to start his or her own business in Japan?
It's a really good time to start your business in Japan. We can establish any type of company without
capital-fund regulations due to the legal amendment implemented in 2003. Also the internet can support and accelerate
your business at a really low cost. Now you can use websites, mail magazines, blogs (web-log), SEO,
affiliate systems and many kinds of internet advertisement to build a customer DB and spread your product
or service. Just Do It!
8. Can you recommend any resources such as books, websites, or support centers for entrepreneurs in Japan?
I love these books listed below.
- The E-Myth Revisited
- High-power marketing
- The 7 habits of highly effective people
- The 8th habit
- Visionary Company
- Visionary Company 2 (from good to great)
9. Who are your mentors in business?
All the people I am working and communicating with are my mentors. Everyone has something special
that is his/her only one in the world, like a way of communication, idea, behavior, attitude and so
10. What makes you happy?
I am caring 4 aspects of my life to be happy. 1) To grow and learn, 2) to live healthy and wealthy,
3) to have good human relationship and 4) to work on challenging project.