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From the Rugby Pitch to the Business Pitch: First ‘Kitakyushu in Cymru’ event takes place in Cardiff

01 Dec, 2023

GlobalWelsh, the global diaspora organisation focused on connecting Wales to the Welsh diaspora around the world worked with JETRO, the City of Kitakyushu, PARKS, the Welsh Government and Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship to host an event that brought together entrepreneurs from Wales and Kitakyushu, Japan. The event, which took place on 28th November at Cardiff Metropolitan University’s School of Technologies, showcased some of the best early stage businesses that wish to build long term trade and collaborative relationships between both countries.

Many will remember the stirring scenes of Japanese people singing the Welsh anthem with pride during the Rugby World Cup 2019. Those were the people of Kitakyushu, Japan. The legacy lives on and the connection between Kitakyushu and Cymru has continued to blossom. Moving from the rugby pitch to the business pitch! Building on Wales’ long term relationship with Japan, not in the large corporate sector but focussed on the vibrant entrepreneurs that are the future wealth creators for both our countries.

The event, which was attended by investors and business leaders from across Wales, saw students from Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT) and students and alumni from Cardiff Metropolitan University present their business plans to an expert panel consisting of former technology VC fund manager, Nigel Grierson, global sales expert and co-founder of Object Matrix, Nick Pearce, and award-winning engineer and CEO of iungo Solutions, Jessica Leigh Jones MBE.

Pitching on the day were:

From Cardiff Metropolitan University (Cardiff, Wales):

  • Kaydiar - business providing a practical and cost-effective approach to diabetic wound care, this innovative device has the potential to reduce the risk of life-changing complications such as amputation, whilst also helping to reduce the financial burden associated with this chronic disease
  • Goggleminds - A training platform to help healthcare professionals and students practice and learn in virtual reality
  • Unifying Services - harnessing the power of technology to enhance the university experience for students. Dedicated to helping students transition seamlessly into their new academic lives, fostering a strong sense of belonging and community. Leveraging innovative solutions to create meaningful connections and lasting impacts

From Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kitakyushu, Japan):

  • ERSaver - Effectively harnessing renewable energy at a low cost
  • SABO - A general purpose service robot for nursing homes, with a mission for full care service for all seniors

GlobalWelsh board member, Dr. Sarah Louisa Birchley who is a Professor in the Faculty of Business Administration at Toyo Gakuen University, Tokyo, Japan drew on her research on international entrepreneurship to put together the event. Having lived in Japan for over 20 years, but still passionately Welsh, Sarah Louisa was thrilled to bring her two 'homes' together. She said, "Through this event we can see that collaboration knows no borders; when we get the right people together in the same room, ideas, innovation, and creativity can thrive and our countries can prosper."   

Listening to the pitches was Steve Aicheler, entrepreneurship Manager at Cardiff Met. Steve observed that "every idea pitched today takes on one of the big challenges facing the globe today, from decarbonising the power system to enabling access to high quality health and social care. It's great to see that Wales and Japan are developing entrepreneurs who are not afraid to take on the grand challenges which will support a sustainable future and we're looking forwards to future collaboration between Wales and Kitakyushu."

If you would like more information about any of the pitching companies, please get in touch via

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