Organization: Local Development Agency of Corrientes
Name: Cesar Tomas Zarrabeitia (Mr.)
Name of the program: Managerial and Financial Support for Small and Medium Enterprises Development.
Program period:23 May-25 June, 2016
Cesar san participated in "Managerial and Financial Support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Development" last year and during his stay in Japan he gained many ideas and hints for supporting SMEs in his country. His report clearly shows that he is making effective use of the gained knowledge.
Watashi wa Cesar desu. Kuni wa Argentin desu. Dozo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
Hello, my name is Cesar Zarrabeitia and I joined the program from Corrientes, Argentina. I have worked for entrepreneurs and SME's of my region for the last 7 years and I must say that my job and my passion is to connect organizations such as entrepreneurs, start-ups, banks, universities, and government with ideas.
The program has been designed in a very dynamic and interesting format. The practical workshops, group discussion, lectures, the visits to Government offices like the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency of METI, the Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation (SMRJ), the Japan Finance Corporation; and local SMEs such as TARUMASA, etc. made me understand some of the key aspects of SME development.
I enjoyed learning about crowdfunding initiatives, innovation policies and exchanging experiences with the participants from ten different parts of the world.
When I came back to Argentina, I had a lot of ideas on my mind. At first I submitted a proposal to a local JICA office and we created a Business Accelerator Program, naming it PALTA (Avocado in Spanish).
After selecting 15 local food industry entrepreneurs and SMEs that are known to have added value to local raw materials, we started training courses for them;offering topics such as Business Plan, Marketing, Intellectual Property, and Quality Control Process;inspired by what I saw at Tarumasa-the Japanese company-(I witnessed their very high quality standards). We also organized casual meetings for those SMEs to strengthen ties with us and among them. We used some ideas I got at the MOBIO Cafe in Osaka.
We signed agreements with 3 national universities, which allowed the SMEs to use research and development facilities and receive free professional assistance.The SMEs involved in the PALTA program also gained access to soft rate loans of the Local Development Fund (our next step is to start a crowdfunding system like the one I learned at the Hyogo Prefecture SME Promotion Office).
Finally,inspired by the Eat Local Kobe initiative and the Japan Brand initiative, we designed a "Local Food Catalogue" which contains the information of the 15 local food SMEs accelerated in the PALTA program.
Hopefully this will be a useful marketing tool for them to reach hotels, gourmets markets and exporters.
One month is enough to start understanding why Japan is Japan. Since I arrived in Japan, I heard that the reason of its particularity is that the country is an island, that they have a lot of mountains and little arable land, that they were a closed economy for some centuries...USODES! (That's a lie). The most wonderful,unique,intriguing and admirable aspect of Japan is the Japanese people.
They are nice, cautious, funny and extremely polite. And more important feature is that they are like Darumas (the armless, legless tumbling doll, weighted on the bottom so it always stand up).
They survived wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, and crisis, but they get up and become stronger, more creative and more polite or even nicer, reaching their objectives, and of course...always on time.
I walked around in Nihon cities, visiting museums, parks and marvelous temples, but I never stopped watching this fascinating people. And I can say without a doubt that today my mind, heart and soul are richer thanks to this experience.
We are glad to know that our program inspired him in many ways. Cesar san must have made lots of efforts to overcome various obstacles in realizing his ideas. He is also like a Daruma that never gives up. We are looking forward to his future success.
YOKOTANI Kimie, Program Division 2, JICA Kansai