Japanese Faculty Show Signs of Catching Start-Up Fever

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Science  15 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5439, pp. 397-398
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5439.397

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Japanese government officials, business leaders, and editorial writers are trying to boost the sluggish economy by exhorting scientists to take the plunge into the business world. Three agencies have requested $85 million in the fiscal year beginning 1 April for a package of subsidies, tax breaks, and loans to nurture new companies, particularly "bioventures," in the hope of expanding the country's minuscule presence in commercial biotechnology. This planned surge of money is the latest in a series of steps aimed at generating more start-ups, particularly from university and national institute labs. And while a few startup companies are beginning to dot the landscape, Japan's scientific community still has a long way to go to match the entrepreneurial vigor of U.S. researchers.