The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has been putting a series of “ICT Community Development Project” into practice in 27 towns and cities since 2011, to spread its successful project cases over the country. Moreover, since this year 2017, the MIC is launching the “Data Driven Smart City Development Project” intending to realize ICT enhanced smart city (where advanced city function and community services that improve convenience and comfort of people’s lives are available) that could solve various local issues and revitalize the regional towns and cities.
On the other hand, the MIC is also aware that there is an advanced practice, the “Startup in Residence” program in San Francisco U.S., that request for proposals from the startups to solve the city’s issue. In this program, the solutions developed by the selected startup that tackle the city’s issue are to be procured eventually by its city partner, upon agreement. After going through the user experiment and demo the solution will make themselves into one of the services provided by the city to its citizens.
Taking the STiR program developed in San Francisco as a role model, the MIC is launching the “StartupXAct” to partner up towns and cities with startups equipped with the technological capability and knowledge to provide solution that could solve the issues held up by the towns and the cities in 2017. As the first year of trial, the “StartupXAct” invites 4 partner towns and cities to participate in this program.
* The goal of the “StartupXAct” is to test the feasibility of the program in tackling the various local issues held up by the regional towns and cities.
* The 4 partner towns and cities this year are: the city of Kyotango (Kyoto), the city of Kumamoto (Kumamoto), the city of Takamatsu (Kagawa), and Teshio town (Hokkaido).
**The origin of the project name “StartupXAct” is as follow: where “Act” is the abbreviation for “Applications for Cities and Towns”, the “X” stands for “startups joining in partnership with the cities and towns” to tackle the proposed local challenges via the startup ICT solutions. As it is being expected that startups would develop the ICT solutions that “exactly” fit for the cities and towns through this program, the ending of the word “XACT” is meant to be pronounced as “exact”.
The selected startups will follow the schedule as below:
■ November ~ 2017 : Developing Solution (preparing for the feasibility test)
The selected startups will be set up to meet with its partner town or city staffs to discuss further with its counterpart on the selected regional issues. The team of startup and the town or city will be working together to develop the solution and to prepare for the feasibility test in next January or February 2017.
■ January ~ February 2018 : Feasibility Test
As the solution been realized, the selected startup will perform feasibility test with its partner town or city on site.
■ March 8 2018 : Demo Day
The selected startup and the town or city will participate in the “Entrepreneurs’ Challenge” program held by the MIC and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) to present the result of the feasibility test.
The “Entrepreneurs’ Challenge” program is where students and young entrepreneurs would gather together from all over the country to present their business plans to the investors and the officials from the regional towns and cities.