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Innovation Square Startup Accelerator (I2@OIST)

Helping to launch the next generation of seed-stage science and technology startups.

To support the startup and innovation ecosystem in Okinawa, OIST has launched the Innovation Square Startup Accelerator Program in 2018.

The Innovation Square Startup Accelerator (I2@OIST) is Okinawa's first global startup accelerator program. Each year, a highly selective group of entrepreneurs from all over the world is chosen to participate in a fixed-term residency program at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), where they receive the funding, mentoring, and partnerships required to launch their technology ventures right here in Okinawa, Japan. The I2@OIST Accelerator combines talent, facilities, and resources from OIST with the most innovative, global technology entrepreneurs to build startups together. 

I2@OIST is a key initiative of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University and managed by the Technology Development & Innovation Center. By catalyzing startups in Okinawa, OIST aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem around the university and contribute to self-sustaining economic development in the region.

As the first startup accelerator program aiming to recruit entrepreneurs from around the world to locate in Okinawa, we believe we can 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. 

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 product to market with funding from the Okinawa Prefectural Government.

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See a list of startups currently at OIST.

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Read our FAQ.

Contact us: 

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The Startup Accelerator Program is funded by Okinawa Prefectural Government. 

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See a list of startups currently at OIST.

TDIC welcomed two project teams “Eco-Friendly Water Retention Natural Polymer (EFP)” from India, and “Microwave Radiometry (MWR)” from Russia in 2019 and both are currently working toward establishing their startups in Okinawa. 

The EF Polymer team has developed a super absorbent polymer from biowaste which retains water, prevents runoff, biodegrades into fertilizer, and preserves soil integrity. EF Polymer promises to revolutionize farming in challenging agricultural areas. Learn more at the EF Polymer website.

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Eco-Friendly Water Retention Natural Polymer (EFP)

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The Microwave Radiometry (MWR) team is developing a microwave radiometry device that will enhance the range and effectiveness of healthcare diagnostics. Microwave radiometry is a non-invasive temperature sensing technique which can detect thermal radiation emitted by the human body. Microwave radiation detected from body surfaces correlates with internal temperature, and this can be an indicator of inflammation or even cancer in its early stages. By applying modern IoT and AI approaches to the product, the team aims to develop a device that can enhance disease diagnosis and is safe, easy-to-use, and cost-effective. Originally from Russia, the MWR team is now targeting Asian and worldwide diagnostic device markets, and the technology is currently being tested in Okinawan hospitals.

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The first Accelerator Program graduate, REPS JAPAN (formerly Shoreditch-son), is providing compact technology solutions for nutrition supplement companies and expanding their business into new areas using their scientific expertise.

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REPS JAPAN (formerly Shoreditch-son)

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Join the first global startup accelerator program in Okinawa!

We are looking for passionate entrepreneurs from all over the world with innovative technologies that have the potential to make a positive impact on society. Once selected, you will participate in a fixed-term residency program as an OIST employee at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology where you will receive the funding, mentoring, and partnerships needed to launch your technology ventures right here in Okinawa, Japan.

Program Duration: 9-10 months (~March 31)


Accelerator Eligibility
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  • Entrepreneurs from Japan and overseas with an innovative technology ranging in Technology Readiness Level of 3-6. 

  • All technology fields are considered except projects requiring pharmaceutical/drug clinical trials (pre-clinical 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 on the project for the duration of the accelerator program.


Accelerator Funding
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  • Awards will range from 3-10 million JPY 
  • Funds can be used for:  
    • Personnel (salary, benefits) 
    • Lab supplies 
    • Contract research 
    • Travel to conferences and exhibitions 
Accelerator Resources
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Resources and Services

  • Lab and office space
  • Access to OIST core research equipment and resources
  • Connect with OIST research and business network
    • Faculty and researchers
    • Venture capital and industry partners
  • Mentorship
    • Expert industry mentors assigned to each project
  • Professional Training
    • Lean Startup Entrepreneurship Program
    • Business Planning Courses
    • Project Management Courses
  • Professional Services
    • Corporate legal advice
    • Intellectual property advice
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Application Process for Accelerator Program

  1. Applicants submit a Letter of Intent.
  2. Chosen applicants asked to submit a full proposal.
  3. Proposals reviewed by a panel of industry experts.
  4. Chosen applicants interviewed via web or in person.
  5. Final Selection announced.

Selection Criteria

  • Passion and commitment to the technology and project
  • Fit to OIST environment and resources
  • Team
  • Technical merit
  • Market potential
  • Goals achievable within program duration
  • Societal impact (Okinawa, Japan, the World)
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FY2023 Startup Accelerator Program

To apply for the Startup Accelerator Program, you must submit a Letter of Intent.

Application Period September 26, 2022 ~ November 20, 2022 (JST)

Apply to I2@OIST

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