As the founder and CEO of MINIMA, a budding company in the world of entrepreneurship, I never expected that a life-changing opportunity awaited me in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Thanks to BizWorld's YES! Program, which provided my company with a crucial $10,000 seed funding, I was offered a trip to Japan by BizWorld itself. Little did I know that this experience would shape my perspective on business, culture, and life in the most profound way.
The journey began when I departed from San Francisco International Airport and arrived in Osaka, Japan on a bright May morning. The first few days were an immersion into this beautiful country's rich culture and traditions. One of the highlights was our visit to Hirose Farm in Sasayama, where we had the unique opportunity to plant rice alongside Yukie and Hide, the warm-hearted farmers who shared their knowledge and passion for their craft.
Continuing our exploration, we visited Mumuto Cafe, a cozy spot where unexpected connections and inspiring conversations took place. There, I had the pleasure of interacting with a talented
20-year-old entrepreneur and artist, Toshiki. Toshiki shared his dreams of studying in Australia, where he hoped to expand his horizons and learn from the diverse creative community there.
His sketches, scattered around the cafe, not only added a unique touch to the ambiance but also gave
a glimpse into his boundless imagination. Witnessing his creativity and drive was truly inspiring, and it reminded me of the limitless possibilities that lie ahead for entrepreneurs like myself.
One of the most remarkable experiences came when we met Keiichi Shimizu, a master artisan potter. Keiichi is a well known potter whose work is displayed in major galleries across the globe. Keiichi not only provided valuable feedback on MINIMA but also gave us an unforgettable tour of his traditional Tamba kiln. The Sasayama-Tamba region is renowned for its ceramics, and being able to witness the intricate process of traditional ceramic firing, which requires 70 hours and 300 bundles of wood, was a humbling experience. It made me appreciate the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into creating such beautiful works of art.
To further enrich our understanding of pottery and its significance in Japanese culture, we visited the Museum of Ceramic Art in Hyogo. As we explored the museum and engaged in conversations with local artists, I couldn't help but feel a deep connection to the art form. It was heartening to share my journey with them and learn from their experiences. The support and encouragement I received from these artists were invaluable, and their insights will forever shape the path I take with MINIMA.
Beyond the world of pottery and entrepreneurship, I was captivated by the culture that enveloped me during my time in Japan. From the awe-inspiring temples and shrines to the bustling streets of Kobe, every moment was filled with wonder and appreciation. The meticulous attention to detail, the harmony between tradition and innovation, and the profound respect for nature and one another left an indelible mark on me.
I also had to present a demonstration pitch for the young entrepreneurs in Japan to watch and learn from. At the BizWorld Japan event where I gave the pitch, I had the opportunity to interact with many young Japanese inventors. The pitch day experience gave me valuable insight into the different ideas that young entrepreneurs have in Japan and not only did I help them learn more about how to pitch, but they taught me some things that I didn’t know as well, which was a very memorable experience.
The opportunity to explore pottery, connect with fellow entrepreneurs and artists, and immerse myself in Japanese culture was truly transformative. The support and encouragement I received from everyone involved, from the farmers at Hirose Farm to the talented artists at the Museum of Ceramic Art, have given me the confidence to push forward with MINIMA and pursue my entrepreneurial dreams.
This trip has opened my eyes to new possibilities and expanded my horizons in ways I could have never imagined. I have gained a deeper understanding of the artistry and craftsmanship that
goes into pottery, and I am inspired to incorporate those principles into the design and creation of MINIMA's products. The lessons I learned from the entrepreneurs and artists I met along
the way will guide me as I navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I am immensely grateful to BizWorld.org and BizWorld Japan (IKIRU) for organizing this
- Saqib Saiyed, Founder & CEO