PREX Global Network Forum (Article & Promotional Video) Business Report
■ PREX Global Network Forum’s Background
PREX has held the re-union forum utilizing IT app. Even we can not meet face-to-face, we can meet again.
Contents of this Forum is introduced in the article.
Click this photo to check the image video of PREX Global Network Forum
PREX has trained more than 18,600 people in 152 countries since its launch. In addition, we have established alumni associations in 14 regions. Those alumni associations were for participants who participated in courses in Japan. We also maintain relationships with them through follow-up programs.
In April 2019, we reorganized the alumni association’s framework into the PREX Global Network (PGN). This PREX Global Network is not divided by participants’ countries. Instead, the new framework positions all course participants conducted in Japan to date as members. And it is aiming to create a network that transcends countries.
We had planned to hold an event in Japan to commemorate the 30th anniversary of PREX in 2020. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was not possible to invite PGN members from abroad to Japan.
Hence we decided to change its style and in March 2022, we held a Zoom-based exchange forum between PGN members and parties who have cooperated with our training projects.
Six trainees spoke about what they learned in Japan, the impacts of COVID-19 in their countries, and other current matters.
The facilitators were lecturers who cooperate with our training projects. At the forum, they facilitated exchanges of opinions and ideas between Japanese participants and trainees. Discussion is based on the three themes, regional revitalization and industrial development, corporate management and kaizen, and overseas trade and investment.
Participants presented what they had learned through the training, tips from the training they had used to rebuild their businesses—which COVID-19 heavily impacted—and how the industries in their respective countries are overcoming difficult conditions to re-emerge stronger.
This article will introduce some comments from each of the trainees.
■ Facilitators in Each Breakout Room
Room 1: Regional Revitalization and Industrial Development;
Dr. Takumi Hirai, Associate Professor, Department of Informatics & Mediology, Mukogawa Women’s University
-> Jump to Room One
Room 2: Corporate Management and Kaizen;
Mr. Toshio Ban, Representative, Sociobiz Research
-> Jump to Room Two
Room 3: Overseas Trade and Investment;
Dr. Kenta Goto, Professor, Faculty of Economics, Kansai University
-> Jump to Room Thee
■ Comments from participants
Mr. Yasuhiro Yamamoto, Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center（Comment for the discussion in Room One)
We were delighted to have Henry come to our office. We were also glad he asked lots of questions about our support for SMEs. He also commented on how he would like to provide this type of support in his own country. I also think it is wonderful to hear that you were actually able to launch your center.
And as for the Maldives, that is the country I want to visit. The tourism industry is struggling due to COVID-19. But I would like to visit once the situation settles down. COVID-19 has led to online tourism businesses starting in Tokyo. While listening to the presentation from Moldives, I started thinking it might be a good idea to consider a business like this. Thank you very much.
Mr. Shigeru Yamada, Yamada Manufacturing Co., Ltd.（Comment for the discussion in Room Two)
Thank you for always coming to observe our 5S activities. During today’s presentations, Narynov showed his strong determination to protect jobs despite the difficulties caused by COVID-19.
And Imad found his business environment destroyed by war. Nevertheless, they spoke of their efforts to strengthen their companies, focusing on kaizen.
It made me aware, once more, that as SMEs, we can only do business in peace. The real purpose of kaizen is for everyone. It’s activities include management and employees, to decide what to maintain, and then a corporate culture is created to maintain this.
The presentations brought renewed conviction to my aim to build a company where employees and managers learn and grow together through friendly competition.
Mr. Takashi Himeji, Japan Finance Corporation (JFC)（Comment for the discussion in Room Three)
I paid careful attention to the efforts of Serbian SMEs to promote exports. I hope their plans to run overseas exhibits from April onward will prove successful.
Despite the pandemic, progress is being made with e-commerce. I was listening to the presentation thinking about how we could support companies that want to export by using these technologies.
Casseer from Sri Lanka told us about their efforts to attract investment. As a financial corporation, we felt it necessary to support companies by providing them with investment information.
The facilitator instructors and Japanese participants were glad to have the opportunity to learn about the trainees’ activities after their return to their home countries. In addition, we generally received favorable feedback, such as that dividing the sessions into themes improved ease of participation.
It also gave the global network members, including the trainees, a chance to meet, exchange experiences and opinions, and share time together. We received lots of positive comments through the forum, such as, “It taught me of the possibilities of networking beyond my country,” and “I felt the support of my Japanese friends who have stayed connected with me during the difficult period from my return home until now.”
This is just a first attempt, and we have much to reflect on regarding time allocation and managing the exchange of opinions.
However, PREX will use this experience to continue its efforts to create places where people can connect.
PREX Follow-up Team