HSI Report: Special Workshop for Bio/Healthcare Business

University News | September 12, 2023

Creating a profitable start-up is no walk in the park. How can one create a successful business that can both generate revenue AND cater to human needs? In the Hokkaido Summer Institute (HSI), participants of the Special Workshop for Bio/Healthcare Business teamed up to come up with start-up ideas based on the current challenges faced by society.

Student participants, lecturers, and organizers of the workshop are lined up in front of the workshop banner posing for the photo.

Post-workshop photo with student participants, lecturers, and organizers.

This course was a 2-day joint-workshop organized by Nagoya City University, Yonsei University, Ritsumeikan University, and Hokkaido University. Taking place in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Hokkaido University, the students first attended the Open Innovation Seminar. Connecting industry and academia, this series of lectures invited researchers and other experts in the health industry: Prof. Han Sung Kim (Yonsei University), Mr. Hideyuki Kitamura (Sumitomo Life Insurance), Dr. Masakatsu Kobayashi (Ono Pharma), Mr. Shinya Takeuchi (Pasona Inc.), and Dr. Kaori Shigetomi-Kuribayashi (formerly, Hokkaido University), Dr. Taruho Kuroda (Newsight Tech Angels), and Mr. Carlos Oba (Dots for Inc.).

Professor Kota Kodama (Nagoya City University) is responsible for putting together the Open Innovation Seminar and this workshop. “By learning from researchers and practitioners from the industry, participants should be able to identify the challenges in the society. I hope that it would lead to the development of innovative ideas into actions. Also, I hope that they can develop international communication skills and entrepreneurship that will help achieve their personal and organizational cohorts’ ambitions.”

Four photos showcasing the activities of the workshop, including presentations, discussions, and note-takings.

During the two-day intensive workshop there was no time to idle. Students were also highly encouraged to scrutinize the other groups’ progress and to give each other feedback.

Coming from a wide range of fields, backgrounds, and cultures, the lecturers’ presentations laid the groundwork for the participants’ final project: conceptualizing a healthcare business model. After drawing inspiration from the talks students were then divided into groups, each needing to come up with a single business idea.

Assistant Professor Karin Kurata (National Institute of Technology, Tsuruoka College) moderated the lecture sessions and provided the participants with the fundamentals of start-up creation. Kurata introduced the groups of students to useful tools and frameworks for analyzing every key element of business: customer, resource, finance, partners, etc. Each student was brimming with ideas, so having a framework helped systemize their abstract ideas.

By thinking realistically, each team also had to acknowledge the potential shortcomings in  any business operation. Students often reflected on the already existing ventures in their analyses. The final business models were presented to the entire class at the end of the course.

A student in pharmacy, Hasyidan Ariffin (Universiti Sains Malaysia), said that his interest is in industrial pharmacy, which is perfectly in line with the course’s theme. “As a pharmacist-to-be, I believe that I already have enough knowledge on pharmaceuticals, but my knowledge regarding entrepreneurship was close to zero; that is, until I joined this workshop. I gained a lot of new knowledge.”

The student team winning the best presentation received prizes.

Hokkaido Summer Institute offers 349 courses in multiple disciplines this summer. To learn more about HSI, visit their website:


Written by Aprilia Agatha Gunawan