SingularityU Japan Global Impact Challenge

What’s your innovative idea to improve the quality of life for 100 million Japanese people within 5 years?

2019 Winner

GIC Winner Placeholder

Shunsuke Tsuboi

Project: Sagri
Sagri is developing agriculture software to help young farmers solve both the financial and farming problems with algorithms, particularly in soil data checking and satellite data.


The purpose of the SingularityU Japan Global Impact Challenge 2019 is to foster 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?

Why Host a GIC in Japan?

Japan is widely acknowledged for its historical affinity in the arts, but it also has championed modern innovation, specifically in electronics, automobiles, and robotics.  With its long history of talent, accomplishments, and innovations, Japan undoubtedly has the capabilities and ingenuity to transform into a society that leverages exponential technologies for positive impact.

In Japan, our creativity and savviness define us and innovation is truly valued.  Through the SingularityU Japan Global Impact Challenge, this is our chance to rise to the occasion and showcase our innovative solutions to humanity’s biggest challenges.

Apply to this GIC by submitting your idea to improve the standard of living of 100 million Japanese citizens over the next 5 years using exponential technology.

The Prize

The Global Startup Program (GSP) helps future-focused entrepreneurs transform radical ideas into tangible impact on a global scale. It’s a structured, immersive program offering startup-focused educational resources and world-class mentorship from SU’s faculty, staff, and industry experts—in a safe, nurturing environment. The program aims to scale startups into global businesses. We want to inspire you to solve the world’s biggest challenges and impact the lives of a billion people.

The GSP brings together entrepreneurs from around the world for structured, immersive workshops and intensive fieldwork in multiple locations around the globe, as well as continued access to support and resources via a best-in-class connectivity platform.

The GSP will start by helping to cultivate a new mindset and toolset to overcome the challenges of technological disruption. Next, the program will work with you to accelerate your time to product-market fit, transform your startup from an idea to a venture that can help a billion people (“billion-scale”), and connect you with a global community to catalyze results. In short, GSP is designed to help you create a 10x startup at a global level.

The winner of the SingularityU Japan Global Impact Challenge will win a seat to Singularity University’s GSP free of charge.

Dates & Timeline

Applications Open: May 22, 2019
Applications Close: July 7, 2019
Live Pitch Event & Winners Announced: July 30, 2019



Sponsored by:



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Rules & 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 Singularity University Global Startup Program
  • You must be able to participate in the Towards-GSP-Camp prior to the final pitch event
  • Applicants selected as finalists will be interviewed by a panel of judges on July 30, 2019 at the final pitch event

We would be thrilled to find:

  • SU mission alignment: You have a startup in one of the global grand challenge (GGC) spaces.
  • Team: Your startup has at least two full-time co-founders.
  • Experience: You have expertise in an exponential technology and/or a key GGC space.
  • Time: Your venture is a fully formed entity, and is in the seed-stage or idea-stage.
  • Traction: You have demonstrated market traction (LOIs, purchase orders, validated trials, sales, etc.).
  • Eagerness to learn: You’re looking for a substantial shift in mindset and skill set, and are eager to globalize your startup and 10x your impact.
  • Availability: You’re available to travel to a global location for the Activate (four weeks) phase, and the SU campus in Mountain View for the Accelerate (four weeks) phase.

We will evaluate submissions using the following criteria:

  • Degree of solution’s relevance to the theme of the challenge
  • The regional relevance in solving the challenge in Japan
  • Feasibility, Viability and Coherence of implementing the idea
  • Entrepreneurial and innovative potential, with a focus on technological novelty
  • Applicant’s leadership experience and quality, profile, achievements, and potential
  • CV/Resume
  • Summary of accomplishments
  • An abstract of the project idea
  • A video URL of the project idea
  • Applications open: May 22, 2019
  • Applications close: July 7, 2019
  • Pitch event & Winners announced: July 30, 2019

GIC Organizing Team

Jovan Rebolledo

Director at Exponential Japan
GSP 2009 Inaugural Cohort

Kazunori Saito

Director at Exponential Japan
EP 2014

Frequently Asked Questions

Global Impact Challenges (GICs) are incentive competitions organized by partners in countries around the world to identify innovative startups & solutions using exponential technology to solve the world’s pressing challenges. The winner of this challenge receives a full sponsorship to attend Singularity University’s 2019 Global Startup Program (GSP).

The GSP is for startups aligned with global grand challenges (GGCs) that want to 10x their current startup and scale it globally. We’re looking for startups that have experience with exponential technology, some level of demonstrated market traction, and an eagerness to radically level-up their business.

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

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.

Yes, there is an expectation for winners to continue working on their winning projects.

The GIC winner is responsible for their own travel expenses to/from SU.

In all cases where a winner cannot attend the GSP, 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].