2018 SingularityU Japan Global Impact Challenge

Submit an idea that will positively impact the lives of the people of Japan and beyond


What's your moonshot idea to improve the quality of life of 100 million Japanese people over 5 years using exponential technology?

2018 Winner
Takao Watanabe 

Pictured left to right:
Tomohito Yamazaki, Yasuhito Sakuraba, Naoki Yamamoto, Takao Watanabe, Kyohei Kondo, and Tomoki Nakano

A social research platform that will provide various educational toys with embedded sensors delivered to specific age groups for babies and children to monitor developmental motor learning.

2018 Winner
Jun Suto

Project: Oya Book

Create a fun and entertaining digital platform to gather and share your parents' information and stories which will help you prepare for elderly care when it becomes needed.


The purpose of the SingularityU Japan Global Impact Challenge is to foster moonshot innovations and startups that positively impact the lives of people living in Japan, with an ability to scale and impact a billion people worldwide in 10 years.

What moonshot innovation would you develop to solve a global grand challenge (environment, energy, water, food, health, disaster resilience, governance, learning, space, security, prosperity, and shelter) using exponential technology that would impact the lives of a billion people in the next 10 years?

The Prize

The winner receives a seat at the SU Ventures Incubator Program. The Incubator Program is a 10-week program that fosters the development of viable start-ups (for profit or not-for profit). 

The SU Ventures Incubator Program runs from April 2, 2018 to May 18, 2018.

The Incubator Program Journey

Dates and timeline

Applications open: November 1, 2017

Applications close: January 7, 2018

Pitch event & Winners announced: January 27, 2018

Sponsored exclusively by:


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Rules & Criteria

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The challenge is open to residents and citizens of Japan
  • You must be age 21 or older
  • You must be fluent in written and spoken English
  • You must be able to participate for the entire Incubator program from April 2, 2018 to May 18, 2018.
  • Applicants selected as finalists will be interviewed by a panel of judges on Saturday, January 27, 2018.

Who Should Apply

We look for people from all professional backgrounds, but will be really thrilled to find you if:

  • You're a founder of an idea-stage startup or an individual with a moonshot idea.
  • You're an accomplished entrepreneur, technologist, scientist, or change agent with expertise in your chosen field(s).
  • You're already considering how to leverage exponential technologies to create a positive impact in the world.
  • You're committed to the long-term journey of launching an impact-focused startup

Assessment Criteria

We will evaluate submissions using the following criteria:

  • Degree of the solution's relevance to the theme of the challenge
  • The regional relevance in solving the challenge in Japan
  • Coherence of the idea and the feasibility and viability of implementing it
  • Entrepreneurial and innovative potential, with a focus on technological novelty
  • Quality of applicants' leadership experience, profile, achievements, and potential

Entry Criteria

  • CV/Resume
  • Summary of accomplishments
  • An abstract of the project idea
    • Within the abstract, describe and detail the following: Your idea and problem/opportunity you are addressing, your solution and long-term impact, applied technology for your solution, and your business model
  • Video URL of the project idea

Important Dates

  • Applications open: November 1, 2017
  • Applications close: January 7, 2018
  • Pitch event & Winners announced: January 27, 2018

GIC Organizing Team

Jovan Rebolledo

Lead Organizer

GSP09 Alumnus
GSP14, GSP15, GSP16, GSP17
Faculty in AI & Robotics: Fellow

Kazunori Saito


EP2015 Alumnus

Satomi Yoshida


Frequently Asked Questions

Global Impact Challenges (GICs) are annual incentive competitions held in partnership with sponsor organizations worldwide and organized by geography and theme. These challenges act as a platform to identify outstanding entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists, and engineers with the most innovative ideas for moonshot innovations and startups that can positively impact a billion people in 10 years. The winner of each challenge receives a full sponsorship to attend an SU program.

Do ideas have to be at a certain stage to be submitted?

We are looking for early-phase startup ideas or individuals with a moonshot ideas. Judging criteria is based on the grandness of the idea—such as whether it solves a problem with a potential to positively impact millions of people, technological novelty, viability of implementing it and applicants leadership potential. 

If you’re a later-stage venture, check out the SU Ventures program.

Who is the owner of the intellectual property resulting from a GIC?

Intellectual property resulting from a GIC belongs to the applicant(s).

What is the GIC review process?

The selection process has 2-3 phases, depending on the GIC. The first phase involves a review of all applications to determine 5-10 finalists, and the second phase involves final judging to select the winner at a pitch event.

Who pays for the travel expenses for the winner to come to SU?

GIC winners are responsible for their own travel expenses to/from SU.

What happens if a GIC winner cannot attend the Incubator for any reason?

In all cases where a winner cannot attend the Incubator program, the winner forfeits their seat to the GIC first runner-up and would have to then re-apply for admission in a future year.

Still have questions?

Get in touch with the Japan GIC organizers by emailing them at [email protected], or contact the Global Impact Challenges team at SU at [email protected].org.