If I only had one word to describe her, I would use — visionary! Yes, it's a cliché, especially when attributed to entrepreneurs, but there's no better word than this, to describe Mariko Fukui. Her vision is to create a global sustainability solutions platform.
By matching Japanese companies that have strong technology assets in the field of sustainability with international research organizations and companies outside of Japan, Mariko seeks to create a synergistic and mutually beneficial platform for international collaboration to help solve global issues for a more sustainable society.
Mariko is a go-getter. Rather than thinking Oh that seems impossible, she thinks Why not challenge myself? The sky is the limit! Mariko said:
“If not me, then who else?”
Based on my personal interactions with Mariko, I know she’s always interested in expanding her horizons and taking on new challenges. Through an acquaintance who was organizing a social entrepreneurship conference in Tokyo — the first of its kind — I asked Mariko if she could speak. Without a moment of hesitation, she immediately agreed.
Both of us love to travel and explore new countries, so we decided to visit Taiwan together for the first time. While there, she contacted a potential business contact on LinkedIn, and was able to meet and exchange ideas during our 2.5-day stay.
And most impressively, Mariko decided at the age of 24 to help launch the Singaporean branch of a Japanese company as the main sales & marketing lead. Like most Japanese people, she could not speak any English. But by making over 100 cold calls per day, she quickly picked up the language.
Very few people would have had the courage to tackle such a challenging proposition. And yet, Mariko aced it and rapidly increased her English speaking and writing skills — a skill-set that will continue serving her very well.
Mariko's Next Challenge
Through conferences, networking, and idea sharing, Mariko came up with a new, creative idea — an open innovation platform to collaborate on companies’ most difficult challenges in the sustainability space.
After working for several years with top brands in Japan that have fantastic products but few innovative ideas, she recognized the pressing issues that have yet to be resolved. By bringing in intelligent and motivated researchers and strategists, Mariko’s platform will introduce companies and their challenges to real innovators.
With her current Japanese customer base in B2B business and key partners around the world, Mariko will create a platform that is open to all interested parties. By supporting both Japanese and global organizations, she believes they can tackle the world’s biggest problems together to create a better society.
Beginning with her current connections at Kyoto University, European and Israeli organizations, and Japanese B2B companies, Mariko will collaborate with a new team to create this sustainability innovation platform. Once it begins generating problems and solutions naturally and becomes a more automatic process, Mariko plans on expanding it globally.
Knowing that she wants to make this new idea a reality, Mariko will gather the resources and talent she needs to embark on a new journey. I can’t wait to see what her future holds!
Thank you very much for reading this article. This article was originally published on Women2.0 on May 16th!
- Shaherose Charania — Founder of Women 2.0, a Network of Global Female Tech Entrepreneurs & Supporters
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- Mariko Fukui — Founder of Aalto International, a Global Branding & PR Firm
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- Kay Deguchi — Founder of Ochanomizu Orthopoedic Clinic, an Innovative Rehabilitation Center
- Omima M. Miki — Founder of an NPO & a Tokyo Resort Onsen Opening in 2019
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- Atsuko Mori — Founder of a Traditional Matcha Tearoom in Kyoto
- Yukiko Yamamoto — Founder of a Design Studio for Kimono Accessories in Kyoto
- Harue Itoh — Founder of a High-end Women's Fashion Store in Kyoto
- Kazuyo Saka — Founder of a High-end Women's Fashion Store in Tokyo