MaRS partners with Tokyo-based NTT DATA to help its startups expand to Asia

MaRS Toronto

MaRS has announced a partnership with a Tokyo-based IT services provider in an effort to help its startups looking for opportunities in Asia.

NTT DATA operates in over 40 countries, and offers a range of services from consulting and systems management to outsourcing. MaRS is its first partner in NTT DATA’s global initiative to work with tech hubs around the world. Under the partnership, MaRS will facilitate introductions between NTT DATA and MaRS companies seeking export opportunities in Asia.

“This is Japan’s first collaboration with MaRS, a global centre for technology, and we are confident this initiative will help innovative businesses accelerate sales in our market,” said Kotaro Zamma, head of open innovation and business incubation business strategy at NTT DATA.

Entrepreneurs working in the FinTech, artificial intelligence, and energy industries will be invited to participate in a global business challenge asking startups to present solutions to economic problems like population decline and aging, environmental destruction, depletion of resources, and the rising cost of healthcare.

This will be one of nine contests held worldwide, and NTT DATA will support other events like hackathons and demo days throughout the year.

“We are actively looking to connect Canadian innovators with business opportunities and customers in Japan and other key global markets,” said Salim Teja, executive vice president of ventures at MaRS. “Our ventures will benefit immensely from the ability to tap into NTT DATA’s industry and market expertise.”

The partnership was announced at NTT DATA’s headquarters in Tokyo, where Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne was stopping for trade missions to Japan and South Korea.

“Ontario recognizes that innovation is the key to thriving in the increasingly competitive global economy,” said Premier Wynne. “MaRS and NTT DATA’s work to connect innovators from Ontario and Japan will drive innovation and pave the way for the next generation of technological breakthroughs while also delivering economic growth. I am thrilled this partnership has been forged during my mission to Japan.”