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Date : March 21, 2012

Report: Yokohama Press Tour -Social Business Rooted in Local Community-(March 21, 2012)

post date : 2013.08.26

Featuring social business which applies business techniques to solving social problems such as poverty, employment, and community-building, this press tour was attended by a total of four journalists from France, Germany, and South Korea.


Yokohama City has been active in supporting social business since 2006. First, the journalists visited the Kannai Future Center nicknamed “mass×mass,” which opened in Yokohama City in March 2011 as an activity base for social entrepreneurs.


The Center, run by Yokohama City and Kannai Innovation Initiative, is an “incubator” facility where young social entrepreneurs share working space. The journalists had a briefing on Yokohama City’s support for social business and toured the Center guided by Ms. Yuka Haruta, Director/General Manager of Kannai Innovation Initiative.




Picture on the left: Journalists interviewing a mass×mass resident entrepreneur named Teppei Nagaoka. Starting up a company called FairStart, he helps with employment of young people who grew up in an orphanage while managing a recruiting business. Click here for more detail (Japanese only).







Picture on the left: Journalists talking to another mass×mass resident named Yoshiho Tanabe, a staff member of Yokohama Rendez-vous Project. Last fall, Ms. Tanabe and her partners set up a new brand called Slow Label, which provides goods created by people with disabilities in collaboration with artists. Click here for more detail (Japanese only).







The journalists also covered K2 International (K2), which helps young people to become independent. In a cafeteria run by K2 (250 Café), young people who once suffered from social withdrawal, are working as staff members, trying to become independent. The journalists all listened carefully to the young people talking openly about their past hardship, such as being bullied or losing parents, which made them withdraw from society.






Lastly the journalists covered the community-building efforts of Koto-Lab, a company managing a hostel business (YOKOHAMA HOSTEL VILLEGE: YHV) in Kotobukicho, Yokohama. The area was once known for its large population of day-laborers. Headed by CEO Tomohiko Okabe, the company is trying to revitalize the area, which faces a rapidly-aging population and is still haunted by the negative image from the past, by attracting young people, especially backpackers, from all over the world.





YHV is a unique inn which does not have its own rooms. Instead, YHV provides lodging for guests utilizing vacant rooms where former day-laborers used to stay. While being surprised at the very small guest rooms of 5 square meters (three tatami mats), the journalists asked many questions, showing their interest in the efforts of Mr. Okabe, who both manages a business and revitalizes a community with a unique idea.

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