We were talking about entrepreneurship and starting businesses in class this week. The beginning of the discussion surprised me a little:
Me: “So, say you have a great idea for a product and you want to start a business. What do you need?”
A Student: “Money.”
Me: “Right. So where do you get the money?”
Another Student: “The bank.”
Me (laughing): “Well, sure, but what are you going to do, go in and say, ‘Money, please?'”
Another Student: “Parents.”
Me (laughing again): “If you have rich parents, maybe. But we’re talking A LOT of money.”
Another Student: “A loan.”
Me: “Maybe, but as a young entrepreneur with no experience and no credit, you probably won’t get one. What’s another idea?”
Another Student: “Investors.”
Me: “Excellent idea. If you can find them, pitch your idea and convince them to support you. What’s another way?”
And here’s where it starts getting crazy…
A Student: “Win the lottery.”
Another Student: “Keiba!” (betting on the horses)
Another Student: “Rob a bank!”
Out of control now, and a little worrisome.
What none of the students came up with was crowdfunding, which was the topic for the class that day. Kickstarter is huge in the U.S. and many other parts of the world now. But no one in Japan (that I’ve talked to) seems to have heard of it. Well, my students do now. And part of their homework for next week is to find out what kind of crowdfunding is going on here.
I happened across this article yesterday and, after the class discussion, I wasn’t very surprised.
Here’s one article about crowdfunding in Japan: