Apply for the NEC Innovation Challenge 2023 for Startups ($15,000 on offer)

Unlock Japanese market prospects with a Fortune 500 firm! Have you considered expanding into the Japanese market? Do you want to use your digital solutions to improve today’s society? NEC Innovation Challenge 2023 invites all start-ups from across the world to collaborate with prominent Japanese firms and institutes.

We are searching for international and Japanese start-ups to work on critical domestic concerns alongside our partners and sponsors.

Don’t miss out on this chance if you have a solution that is applicable to our four topics (LLM, Healthcare, Smart City, and Urban Agriculture) and want to develop your business in Japan.

This is your golden ticket to extraordinary potential in the Japanese market and the chance to earn up to USD 15,000* in funding for proof-of-concept development!

NEC is a Japanese global information technology business, and its aim is to create value for all members of society. We think that digital solutions can answer society’s issues through technology and collaboration.

‘Global Co-creation’ is the goal for this year. We aspire to develop solutions to today’s difficulties and bring outstanding ideas to life in collaboration with NEC and NEC’s sponsors and partners.


  • This year’s competition included the following awards:
  • NEC Honors: Proof of Concept (PoC) development may receive up to $15,000 in funding.
  • NOFF: The opportunity to be funded by NOFF
  • Award for BIRD Initiative: Get assistance from the BIRD Initiative to access the Japanese market (contact with Japanese developers, incorporation assistance, etc.).
  • AgriTech Innovator Award: Gain access to Kawasaki City’s experimental farm field

This competition is available to entrepreneurs working on new solutions in the following areas: Large Language Models (LLM), Healthcare, Smart City (particularly Smart Retail and Child Safety and Protection), and Urban Agriculture.
For more information and to apply, visit the program official website here. The application period will be open until November 2, 2023.

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