“As a small business owner looking for export growth, this is the perfect workshop.”

Such a ringing endorsement was just one of many given by attendees at the 2018 North Asia CAPE Japan Strategy Builder workshops. They were developed and delivered by two University of Auckland Business School academics in conjunction with sector experts from Export NZ and the North Asia CAPE. The aim? To boost the market knowledge and cultural understanding of Japan by NZ businesses seeking to enter or expand their foothold there.

In the second half of 2018, a total of three workshops ran over two half-days in Auckland and in Tauranga. Attendees represented a mix of businesses from around New Zealand, from veteran exporters ready to enter the Japanese market, to new enterprises wanting to learn more about how to succeed in Japan, to banking professionals with internationally-focused business clients.

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Expertly facilitated by the Business School’s Dr Antje Fiedler and Dr Benjamin Fath, the workshops comprised a blend of animated small group work and analyses of contemporary case studies. Jason Reeves, former NZ Trade Commissioner to Japan, also gave a fascinating talk that offered practical steps and resources available for NZ businesses seeking to internationalise. Jason also co-facilitated a part of the workshop with the academic specialists generously sharing his Japan knowledge and providing opportunity for further reflection and discussion.

Valuable lessons were also provided by industry speakers, namely Todd Graydon, Global General Manager at Blunt Umbrellas, (Auckland workshop) and Pania Turney, Sales Manager – Asia Pacific at Taura Natural Ingredients Ltd (Tauranga workshop), enabling participants to further refine their engagement strategies for the Japanese market.

Throughout the programme, participants were encouraged to ask questions and to actively participate in conversations with the facilitators and their colleagues. As another evaluation made clear, the combination of professional immersion and authentic interaction really worked:

“Having a mix of clients already involved in doing business with Japan along with others contemplating it, made for some very interesting conversations and insights.”

“The Japan Strategy workshops bring to life our aim to help New Zealand businesses build strong and sustainable relationships in key North Asian countries. By bringing together respected academics and sector specialists, we can unlock the university-based knowledge and share it with those who clearly value such expertise,” says Professor Paul Clark, Director of the North Asia CAPE.

Given the glowing feedback – “The workshop far exceeded my expectations”; “I would absolutely recommend these sessions!” – the North Asia CAPE will deliver Japan Strategy workshops across New Zealand in 2019.

Watch the short video about the JSB workshops:

If you are interested in attending a Japan Strategy Builder workshop in 2020, please email North Asia CAPE here

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