Innovation Square Start-up Accelerator Program 2023

Innovation Square Start-up Accelerator Program 2023 selects some groups of entrepreneurs from all over the world.Innovation Square Start-up Accelerator Program 2023

Innovation Square Start-up Accelerator Program 2023

These selected individuals participate in a fixed-term residency program at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) where they receive funding, mentoring, and partnerships required to launch their technology ventures in Okinawa Japan. The Innovation Square Startup Accelerator Program duration is 9-10 months.

About Innovation Square Startup Accelerator Program 12@OIST

Innovation Square Startup Accelerator Program (12@OIST) is a program designed to launch the next generation of seed-stage science and technology startups.

It is looking for passionate entrepreneurs from all over the world with innovative technologies that have the potential to make a positive impact on society.

The program started in 2018. The aim is to strengthen the innovation ecosystem around the university, contribute to self-sustaining economic development in the region.

It will also help innovative startups and founders build next-generation solutions to meet local and global markets and realize Okinawa’s potential as a regional center for innovation in science and technology. The program is managed by the Technology Development & Innovation Center.

Teams accepted to the accelerator program will work with the OIST Technology Development & Innovation Center (TDIC) and its network of mentors based around the world to bring their products to market with funding from the Okinawa Prefectural Government.

Criteria for OIST Innovation

Innovation Square Start-up Accelerator Qualification is open to entrepreneurs from Japan and overseas with an innovative technology ranging in Technology Readiness Level of 3-6. Also, all technology fields are considered except projects requiring pharmaceutical/drug clinical trials (preclinical is eligible).

If selected, at least 1 founder who has (or will have) ownership of the startup must relocate to Okinawa and devote 100% effort to the project for the duration of the accelerator program.

Selection Process

There are different selection standards for the program.

  • Passion and commitment to technology and projects.
  • Must fit into OIST environment and resources
  • Team and technical merit
  • Market potential
  • Must be ready to achieve the goals within the program duration
  • Must be ready to make societal impacts (Okinawa, Japan, the World)

Application Process for Startup Accelerator Program 

The application process for the 2023 Startup Accelerators Program includes:

  • Applicants must submit a Letter of Intent.
  • Chosen applicants will submit a full proposal.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of industry experts.
  • Chosen applicants will be interviewed through the web or in person.
  • There will be an announcement for the final selection.

When is the FY2023 Startup Accelerator Program?

The Startup Accelerator Program 2023 application is ongoing, the application started on the 26th of September and will end on the 20th of November, 2022. Apply here


The Startup Accelerator Program is funded by the Okinawa Prefectural Government. Funding includes:

  • Awards ranging from 3-10 million JPY

These funds can be used for:

  • Personnel (salary, benefits)
  • Lab supplies
  • Contract research
  • Travel to conferences and exhibitions

Resources and Services For Accelerator Program

  • There will be lab and office space
  • There will be access to OIST core research equipment and resources.

The selected entrepreneurs will be connecting with OIST research and business networks

  • Faculty and researchers
  • Venture capital and industry partners
  • Mentorship: There will be expert industry mentors assigned to each project

Professional Training

  • There will be a lean startup entrepreneurship program.
  • Business planning courses will be organized.
  • Project Management Courses
  • There will also be professional services like; Corporate legal advice and intellectual property advice.

Administrative Services will be offered to the entrepreneurs. These administrative services include:

  • Program management by staff of the OIST Technology Development & Innovation Center
  • IT services


Who is eligible for the program?

Entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world with innovative technologies range in Technology Readiness Levels between 3-6.

All technology fields will be considered. We are particularly interested in ideas that serve society and sustain the planet, including energy, health and longevity, mobility, water, agriculture, shelter, and materials.

Due to the nature of the program, we do not fund projects requiring pharmaceutical/drug clinical trials (although some pre-clinical studies may be eligible) or companies selling third-party products.

How much equity does FY2023 Startup Accelerator Program take?

Startup Accelerator Program does not take equity in exchange for participation in this program. Our goal is to support early-stage, pre-commercial technologies that can make a significant impact in Okinawa, Japan, and the world.

We also aim to foster an entrepreneurial community around OIST where startup companies can interact with and benefit from industry and the academic research community in Okinawa.

Are there specific rules on the use of funds?

Use of funds is subject to rules and regulations of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology and its sponsors.

In general, funds can be used for:

  • Personnel (salary, housing, social insurance, etc.) for the members to relocate to Okinawa
  • Lab and office supplies (only for consumables. Expenses for fixed assets and PC are excluded.)
  • Contract research (selected teams/startups are not eligible as a contractor)
  • Travel fee for business trip (Fee for relocation to Okinawa will be considered separately on a needed basis.



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