2018-07-06

FREA Featured In An Interview & Spotlight Article With Tokyo Startup Station!

Our company has been featured in a highlights compilation released by Tokyo Startup Station this spring—FREA is among several companies to have received funding assistance from their organization last year. (Click the thumbnail below to access full-sized interview in Japanese)

The interview discusses some of the components of FREA’s service that set us apart from other real estate agencies, as well as briefly pointing out our newer direction towards commercial space leasing and business support services for foreigner entrepreneurs in Japan.

Tokyo Startup Station awards grants to multiple companies each year, and Foreigner-owned companies are eligible to apply as well!  We would like to draw attention to them as one of the numerous potential funding sources that can be applied to in Japan.

 

For further details on the grant program by Tokyo Startup Station, please visit the link below (website currently only available in Japanese):

https://www.tokyo-kosha.or.jp/station/services/sogyokassei/h29saitaku.html

2018-07-04

Renting In Tokyo: Our Housing Satisfaction Guarantee

At FREA, we are always seeking ways to improve our service for foreigners seeking housing.  Please read on for one client’s experience this year, and how we intend to address the possibility of similar cases in the future.

 

  1. The Housing Search On A Short Timeline
  2. Apartment Issues Discovered After Move-In
  3. The Costly Expenses Associated With Rental Leasing In Japan
  4. FREA’s Guarantee For Housing Satisfaction

 

  1. The Housing Search On A Short Timeline

Earlier this year, FREA assisted in the apartment search for one of our clients who was newly relocated to Tokyo as an international hire.  The company employing and sponsoring his work visa did not provide support for housing, so as is common of many expats, he had prepared a few weeks of short-term housing upon arrival on his own and was determined to secure long-term housing before this expired.

Most foreigners seeking housing in Tokyo highly prefer to be located within an optimized commute route to work, so we focused on housing options to the west of Shibuya with direct train line access.  After viewing several properties, our client settled on a recently built, spacious 1LDK in Setegaya-ku—one of the notably residential wards in Tokyo.  Although the move-in timeline was tight, arrangements were successfully made to complete all application and contract-processing details in time for our excited client to transition over smoothly from his short-term housing.

 

  1. Apartment Issues Discovered After Move-In

All seemed rather well, until a few weeks later we received contact from our client asking to confirm that the contract indeed had no penalty clause for moving out early.  In the haste to lock down an apartment in time to avoid extending the temporary housing, our client had inadvertently overlooked the presence of a fire station just down the road, which would sometimes (loudly) dispatch trucks during the night. 

But the large roadway located at the rear of the building posed overall problems too—although it had been relatively quiet during the daytime viewing, there was a surprising number of trucks passing through at nighttime, generating not just noise but floor vibrations, too (the apartment was a first floor unit).

 

  1. The Costly Expenses Associated With Rental Leasing In Japan

Our client woefully confessed that he had been sleeping poorly and was already contemplating moving elsewhere, though the high amount of initial leasing costs already paid to the property management company to secure the lease contract meant that he would need to reduce his budget for the subsequent apartment.  This actually mirrored the past housing situation of FREA’s CEO, who had herself experienced a similar case of moving into an apartment in Tokyo, only to realize after that there was in fact a fire station located in the immediate area. 

Suggestions of ways to mediate the interior noise level were provided promptly, along with the open offer to assist with a fresh apartment search at no agency fee (typically one month’s worth of rent) if our client chose to go through with the move.

Ultimately, our client elected to search for another apartment with us and was able to relocate to a different complex tucked further away from the major roadway for a significant reduction in unwanted sounds. 

 

  1. FREA’s Guarantee For Housing Satisfaction

At FREA, we stand behind the belief that our agency fee—set at the same industry rate as all other real estate agencies in Japan—should come with only the best of our services in helping foreigners to find their ideal housing meeting their needs. 

If any of our clients find themselves dissatisfied with a housing property that they have leased with our support within 3 months of the lease start date, we are happy to offer assistance in searching for the next replacement property at NO additional agency charge!

(Initial costs paid separately to the property management company for the starting of a lease will still apply)

Of course, the best outcome would be to succeed in finding housing that has no significant detriments, and we always encourage our clients to thoroughly examine not just the housing unit itself, but also the shared common areas (such as garbage disposal) and surrounding neighborhood, too.

Still, we realize that it is possible for details to be overlooked during the housing search, and for unforeseen issues to arise afterwards.  We hope that this additional guarantee helps bring extra peace of mind to our international clients during what can often be a stressful relocation period.

 

Please choose FREA with confidence for your housing relocation needs in Tokyo!

2018-07-03

Government Grant Opportunities For Companies in Japan and How To Increase Application Success Rates

 

In today’s article we’ll discuss government grants in Japan and one of the key steps that can be taken to increase chances of approval.

Foreigner-owned companies that apply are considered on the same standard criteria for government grants, making them stand out as one of the more readily accessible types of funding opportunities for foreigners in Japan! (In comparison, other options such as venture capital are incredibly strict with foreigner-owned projects, and angel investors are rare in Japan)

 

  1. The Availability of Government Grants For Businesses In Japan
  2. A Brief Overview Of Application Eligibility
  3. A Vital Step In Increasing Grant Success Rates: The “Management of Innovation Plan”
  4. Additional Information Regarding Grants To Come

 

  1. The Availability of Government Grants For Businesses In Japan

The Japanese government has set aside designated amounts of grant funding to be used towards supporting companies and startups that are either creating physical products or offering services that bring innovative contributions to society.

Eligible businesses may apply, and through achieving a satisfactory assessment by meeting various conditions and requirements may become eligible to receive access to grants to use for funding.

The Department for Innovative Services alone been allotted a budget of 20 million yen for the 2018 period, so the amount of resources available is quite significant.

 

Grant Application for Physical Products (In Japanese):

http://www.chusho.meti.go.jp/keiei/sapoin/2018/180228mono.htm

 

Grant Application for Services (In Japanese):

http://www.tokyo-kosha.or.jp/support/service/kakushin.html

 

  1. A Brief Overview Of Application Eligibility

Applying companies must be a registered business in Japan.  Eligibility is determined by several factors including company employee number and amount of capital—major corporations do not qualify for grants but the vast majority of small-to-mid sized businesses (including startups) are generally accepted.

It is worth noting that companies producing web-based apps are considered to fall in the “Services” category and thus also may qualify.

 

  1. A Vital Step In Increasing Grant Success Rates: The “Management of Innovation Plan”

Applicants may elect to prepare a keiei kakushin keikaku (“Management of Innovation Plan”) document—which formally describes the company’s business plan in detail—and submit this alongside their application.

Although not officially listed as a requirement for the application process, a completed “Management of Innovation Plan” signals that the applying company regards its product or service very seriously, helping to increase the overall likelihood of approval.  It could perhaps even be said that preparing this document as a companion to grant applications is considered an unspoken expectation.

 

Detailed Information on the keiei kakushin keikaku (In Japanese):

http://www.sangyo-rodo.metro.tokyo.jp/chushou/shoko/keiei/kakushin/

 

Specialists are available in Japan to prepare this document on request, requiring some general input from the entrepreneur and only a small amount of personal Japanese ability in many cases.  We highly recommend that those looking to apply for grants utilize such services.

 

  1. Additional Information Regarding Grants To Come

As existing English-language resources for these grant programs and submission processes are currently very scarce, we will be continuously putting together and releasing additional information.  Details to come include types of grant categories and what received funds may be used for, to name a few.

FREA is able to provide English support and assistance in preparing applications for grant programs, as well referrals to specialists for the “Management of Innovation Plan” document.

 

We hope that this reference information may help many more foreigner entrepreneurs and business owners in Japan to have increased access to funding!

2018-06-25

FREA at Hacker news Tokyo Meet up

FREA attended an international business meetup event on Thursday, June 14th, hosted by Hacker News Tokyo!  Held in Super Deluxe, an industrially-styled underground venue in the heart of Roppongi, the event offered a casual yet energized environment in which to mingle, network, share upcoming projects and discuss recent tech developments.  Attendance to the event also included two drinks and a few rounds of light snacks.

 Midway during the evening, event organizers called for attendees to gather and kicked off an Announcements portion, allowing individuals to come up and make short, informal speeches pitching their current projects and outreach for collaborations they were seeking to the rest of the audience.  The attendees were comprised of a wide variety individuals hailing from all over the world as well as a number of internationally-minded Japanese, with a healthy mix of both first-timers and returning attendees. 

 We were struck by the consistency with which all attendees (Japanese or foreign) presented their ideas in English, with English also being the predominant language for the vast majority interactions taking place in the space throughout the evening.  

 Although the attendance for the event represents only a tiny sliver of the business venture scene in Japan, we felt that it perhaps foreshadows a more global mindset in the future Japan market, which the country has been gradually shifting towards in recent years..

 FREA is very glad to have been able to have the opportunity to attend the Hacker News Tokyo meetup and speak with such a diverse range of individuals.  Once again we have clearly heard the need for more substantial and readily accessible business support services for foreigners in Japan, and are more motivated than ever to continue improving our foreigner entrepreneur support program.

2018-06-14

7 Noteworthy Coworking Spaces in Silicon Valley (SF Bay Area)

With the launch of our foreign business support services earlier this spring, a shared office space for entrepreneurs has also been launched.  Eager to continue implementing improvements to better cater to the needs and desires of foreign startup owners in Japan, staff at FREA have examined such spaces in Silicon Valley, where the concept of coworking originated as a response to the startup environment.

 

With each entrepreneur or small-business-owner having widely varied needs, we felt that “best” would not be an appropriate descriptor, however each of the following locations is highly rated and have numerous services to offer—read on for our list of coworking spaces in the SF Bay area that we felt stood out for one reason or another.

PART 1: San Francisco

Bespoke (SF)

http://www.bespokesf.co/

Housed right inside the Westfield San Francisco Centre in Union Square, Bespoke stands out as a retail-focused and fashion-oriented resource amongst the many more purely tech-focused shared offices.  Demo stations for feedback and engaging potential audiences are available both inside the working space and throughout the massive shopping mall, which draws over 20 million visitors each year.

Going beyond generic office spaces, Bespoke even offers a “nap room” with beds for members to recharge during the day, as well as an indoor rock-climbing wall for a change of pace.  The unlimited supply of quality local coffee also seems to be an appreciated perk.

 

Covo (SF)

https://www.hellocovo.com/

This coworking space is housed in a large downtown building with an open-to-public café area and tiered pricing options ranging from pay-per-hour to monthly memberships including private office rooms.  Covo’s greatest strength perhaps lies in its staggering range of amenities offered for a comfortable environment promoting work-life balance—a few examples are both a café and tap room area, a bicycle room, dry cleaning services, and the pet-friendly nature of the building.

 

Canopy (SF, multiple locations)

https://canopy.space/

Offering several locations spread across SF, Canopy specializes in carefully curated, ergonomic working environments.  Amenities include a full-sized kitchen, beverage refreshments, desk phones and tech support.

For entrepreneurs working remotely, they also offer “virtual office” memberships providing a business address.  All membership tiers include a portion of meeting room credits, and access to community happenings—Canopy frequently hosts industry speakers, themed discussions and other events.

 

Galvanize (SF)

https://www.galvanize.com/san-francisco/campus

Unlike most other shared office spaces, Galvanize is also a campus building which offers a variety of tech courses for individuals seeking to either improve their existing skills or a begin a new career in the tech industry.  The five-story building offers a wide variety of seating including private offices and an open-to-the-public café area, and also hosts frequent tech meetups during evenings, creating valuable networking opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Designed to be drastically different from traditional workspaces, Galvanize contains multiple micro-kitchens (with refrigerators) for refreshments throughout its floors, which have large amounts of natural light and are furnished with varying themes.  Visitors praise the “energizing” environment that promotes productivity and the inspiring rooftop view from the 5th floor of the bustling city.

Previously, in the first half of our compilation of top Silicon Valley coworking spaces, we focused on offices based in San Francisco itself.  But Silicon Valley actually encompasses a much larger overall region, with areas often differing significantly from the urban city vibes of SF.  Here are 3 more noteworthy coworking spaces, this time located elsewhere in the Bay Area.

2018-06-11

Updates regarding FREA’s progress towards foreigner business support in Japan!

As followers of our blog may recall, FREA recently shared information regarding the current “Foreign Entrepreneurs Business Plan Competition [2018]” being hosted by Tokyo Star Bank. Read on for our ongoing actions towards assisting foreigner entrepreneurs in Japan!

1. FREA’s Recent Entry Into Bilingual Business Support
2. Our Efforts Thus Far In Supporting Foreign Businesses & Entrepreneurs
3. How We Hope To Make An Impact

 

1. FREA’s Recent Entry Into Bilingual Business Support

As of this Spring, FREA has begun to actively expand our efforts towards providing comprehensive support for foreigner entrepreneurs and business owners in Japan. Currently our pilot program is underway, and we are in the initial phases of providing support to a small pool of foreign businesses while also placing a heavy emphasis on collecting as much feedback as possible. Ultimately, we hope to perfect our service offerings to be able to smoothly assist entrepreneurs and business owners in their transition from being based completely outside of Japan into establishing a presence in our domestic market.

After learning of and sharing the Tokyo Star Bank competition, we were left wondering if the chance for interested applicants to enter could perhaps be made even more accessible. Since the competition allows for an unaffiliated representative to assist with preparing the required Japanese components, we felt that it would be an opportune way to begin directly lending our support to a few aspiring entrepreneurs within Japan.

2. Our Efforts Thus Far In Supporting Foreign Businesses & Entrepreneurs

We have been conducting interviews with multiple non-Japanese business owners and student entrepreneurs located in Japan in order to best understand the full scope of their needs and specific wishes when it comes to business support services. Through connecting with these foreign business owners, we have heard a number of disheartening first-hand accounts of the difficulties associated with successfully processing all of the different legal matters that come with establishing a company within Japan. A frequent grievance has been the lack of a centralized, comprehensive source of clear information, with foreigner entrepreneurs often citing anywhere from multiple months to multiple years to successfully complete company registration and business/immigration documents. Of course, once the initial company has been established ongoing difficulties associated with limited Japanese language ability and/or access to the greater industry network, among other things, may also pose barriers. Although the list of potential obstacles is quite daunting, we are determined to bring together effective methods of solution to each issue over time.

Currently, FREA has elected to back several foreigner entrepreneurs in the Tokyo area for participation in the Tokyo Star Bank competition, with hopes that this event may help to kickstart one or multiple business plans intended for execution in Japan. We have met with each entrepreneur in person to discuss the contents of their business plans in detail and worked together on assembling the application components. As the contest entries must be submitted entirely in Japanese, our staff first translated the detailed entry form questionnaire into English for completion with the entrants and are now in the process of preparing Japanese language versions for submission.

3. How We Hope To Make An Impact

Though there exist a variety of business support services and legal specialists offering assistance to foreigner entrepreneurs aspiring to enter the Japanese market, there has yet to be a truly streamlined and finely tuned process available. For example, many immigration lawyers may have limited English ability, making it somewhat difficult to coordinate applications. In other situations, existing business services provide guidance for business registration but may not offer any advice towards the ongoing process of running the business (such as tax requirements) or be lacking in insight on how to most effectively apply for the Investor Visa.

At FREA, we hope to combine our strong existing background in foreigner-specialized bilingual services and apply them full-force towards the underserved pool of foreign business owners seeking to enter the Japan market. Rather than simply process documents into Japanese, we aim to understand the core workings of each of our clients’ prospective business plans in detail and thus be able to both offer specific feedback and actively advocate for them within the Japanese business sphere. Entrepreneurs we interviewed expressed a strong desire overall for customizable and especially industry-specific support for their businesses.

One of the components of the Tokyo Star Bank contest is a pitching presentation to the judging panel (to be conducted in Japanese, of course). One of the entrants we are assisting has voiced an interest in delivering the pitch on their own, and should they pass the initial stages of the competition additional coaching and practice support has been agreed upon.

With the initial submission deadline rapidly approaching, FREA staff are working to their fullest to complete all preparations in time for the Tokyo Star Bank’s “Foreign Entrepreneurs Business Plan Competition [2018].” We are hopeful that through these efforts we may begin to make an impact on the ongoing influx of foreign entrepreneurs seeking to enter the Japan market!

2018-05-24

We interviewed a wonderful foreign entrepreneur!

At the end of last month, FREA sat down with an American business owner who is currently based out of his Tokyo, Japan office and discussed his array of experiences with doing business in Japan. We spoke at length regarding his past and current struggles with establishing and running a company within Japan, as well as his thoughts about how the Japanese market differs from Western markets.

Although only recently formally incorporated in Japan, our interviewee’s company had in fact been doing business with Japanese companies for well over 15 years, acting as a supplier to numerous established brands. He selected Tokyo, Japan as the location for opening his Asia-wide sales office, citing the prestigious image of the region as one of the key deciding factors.

Consistent with the experiences of many other foreign entrepreneurs, the process of business registration was frustratingly time-consuming (clocking in at a total of 6 months), even with the enlisting of specialized support services. Japan as a country has many strict requirements when it comes to stablishing essential logistics such as bank accounts and phone service, which as a result must be delicately prepared in a specific order.

Beyond the complex initial legal paperwork, our interviewee also vocalized an ongoing difficulty with finding local bilingual staff to hire who could meet the skillset demands of the company, which is another common obstacle shared by internationally-minded companies in Japan, both domestic and foreign.

One notable aspect that may come as a given to Japanese nationals but unexpected to foreigners: our interviewee pointed out the immense importance of long-standing relationships forged between businesses (and respective company individuals, too!) in Japan. In stark contrast to the less hierarchical western business scene, consumers and companies alike are unlikely to naturally gravitate to a new source simply because their product or services are inherently better. Our interviewee graciously credited an existing business contact who was able to initially introduce them to their current business clients in Japan, as well as speak favorably on their behalf during their office leasing search. This also highlights the integral need for providing network-building assistance when it comes to supporting foreign ventures newly arriving to Japan.

Perhaps most surprising was our interviewee’s keen focus on the desire for more “lifestyle”-related transitional support for foreigners relocating to Japan. Simple insights such as which train lines tend to be more/less congested, and the mysterious process of how to pay for utility bills at a local convenience store—details that are such an integral part of standard life in Japan that they may commonly be overlooked as points potentially needing orientation. Although the availability of bilingual real estate agencies has gradually increased over the years, detailed hands-on, walkthrough-type services for foreign expats following move-in (especially those with little-to-no Japanese ability) seemingly remain something to be desired.

Despite all of these various struggles, our interviewee enthusiastically maintained that Japan is very much an incredibly attractive place of interest among foreign entrepreneurs and businesses, if a somewhat notoriously difficult market to break into. We at FREA are very grateful to our interviewee for speaking with us so candidly and offering valuable insights on the perspective of a foreign business owner active in Japan. We are hopeful that through our new business-support program being taken on by KEIKYU Accelerator this spring, we will be able to effectively resolve or alleviate many of these difficulties and enable foreign entrepreneurs around the world to realize their full potential in Japan.

(To maintain the confidentiality of our interviewee and associated business clients all names and detailed industry specifics have been omitted.)

2018-05-15

Funding Opportunity for Foreign Business-Owners in Japan!

In a previous article, FREA discussed the steady influx of grant programs and funding contests that are available to small businesses in Japan.  Today, we would like to draw attention to a currently ongoing business competition that is not only open to, but aimed specifically towards foreigner entrepreneurs in Japan,

The “Foreign Entrepreneurs Business Plan Competition [2018]”, hosted by Tokyo Star Bank, opened for submissions earlier this month, urging foreigner business owners (as well as freelancers) to “become a star in Japan’s business scene.”

Entries are currently being accepted through Friday, June 8th, 2018.  For full details, please visit the Tokyo Star Bank website below:

 

http://www.tokyostarbank.co.jp/service/foreign_customers/biz_contest/index_en.html

 

The contest lists the following requirements for applicants:

● Must be a foreign national living in Japan or foreign-born Japanese
Must be a representative of a legal entity (Note: Sole proprietors may also register)
 Must be within five years of founding
 Must be able to compete in Japanese

 

Although all entries are indeed required to be made in Japanese, it is also permitted to have a representative present on behalf of the business owner if they themselves lack sufficient Japanese language ability—the representative is not required to be officially affiliated with the company which means that requesting some help from a friend or similar would also be viable.

 

Tokyo Star Bank lists providing support to foreign entrepreneurs in a challenging business environment, along with following current demographic trends (recent statistics have shown the population of foreign residents within Japan is steadily rising) as some of the key goals for hosting this contest.  We are optimistic that this reflects a growing interest amongst Japanese industries in foreign entrepreneurs in Japan, and that the number of available support resources will continue to increase.

2018-05-14

FREA & Take Off Lobby Service Highlights

Last month, FREA’s expansion into business support services was launched, and we hope to be able to provide more effective support for many unfilled or underfilled needs for foreign entrepreneurs and business owners seeking to do business in Japan.

Current business startup support services on the market tend to offer rather limited to no support for the housing aspect of living and working in Japan. As FREA was originally established as a real estate agency, we have a strong experience base in advocating for foreigners as well as a keen understanding of how to account for each client’s individual needs and requests. Not only can we provide many options for initial short-term housing to suit a variety of budgets, we also specialize in handling standard mid-to-long housing leases in Japan, allowing for a smooth transition after the investor visa is received. We also assist in commercial space leasing as well for expanding to a larger office. 

An initial office space (with valid address) is also essential during the processing period for the Investor Visa. We have established a flexible office space in Central Tokyo, which will open its doors for the first time on TODAY, May 14th, 2018.  Bilingual staff will be available to provide correspondence from 10AM-5PM on weekdays, and an array of business support services will also be available. 

Currently, the pilot program is slated to run through June 30th, 2018.
Please check the price list !

Some other highlights of our offerings:

  • Office space located conveniently in Central Tokyo (private offices also to become available)
  • On-demand business mentoring program for small businesses
  • Translating support for incoming/outgoing emails and complex documents in Japanese
  • Flexible leasing plans for furniture, home appliances and office equipment for both residential and office situations. (Transportation, setup/disassembly, and insurance included)
  • Wide network of specialists and resources for business support (legal counsel, accounting & other backend services, etc.) available at varying tiers of competitive prices—flexibility to choose the options that are best for you!
  • Essential cultural and lifestyle support also to be offered for adjusting to Japan—business etiquette orientation, Japanese language lessons, and more.

 

Our streamlined services can save time, money and energy during the complicated company registration process in Japan. Please consider FREA’s fully bilingual support for all aspects of your new business in Japan!

2018-05-14

Funding & Grants for Small Companies in Japan

The expenses associated with starting up or attempting to expand a company in any country can be quite substantial (and Investor visa holders will already have likely had to invest a steep amount in the initial capital minimum as well as processing fees, to boot).  However, there are actually quite a few resources available which offer funding to small companies in Japan.

Many of these grant programs are funded directly by various governing bodies within Japan, with an aim of boosting small companies offering products or services that are deemed to have a positive impact in society.  These types of programs, when awarded, may subsidize upwards of around two-thirds of expenses associated with furthering a small company’s proposed business plans. (There are also a variety of privately sponsored business contests by major corporations, which will not be addressed in this article.)

 

All applicants who meet the stated conditions are eligible to apply, with no clauses regarding the applicant’s nationality.  But despite the array of grants available within Japan, there have been very little precedent of Japanese business owners receiving any—the few existing cases can often be traced to foreign business owners with Japanese spouses who assisted with the applications.  Information regarding these funding opportunities is largely released only in Japanese, with applications of course being only accepted in Japanese as well. 

 

Below, please find one of the current funding projects that is accepting applications for small businesses primarily based in Japan which fall under either manufacturing, commerce, or service industries.  The deadline for this particular program was April 27, 2018, but the page itself still provides a sample of the sorts of conditions for application and the amount of funding that is potentially available.

 

http://www.chusho.meti.go.jp/sme_english/index.html

 

We will be periodically spotlighting current grant applications from time to time as part of our mission to create a stronger support base for foreign entrepreneurs interested in Japan.  We hope that raising the awareness of these funding opportunities will be the first step in increasing foreigner entrepreneurs’ access to these resources.

 

2018-05-11

Chatbot Announcement

FREA is excited to introduce an automated chat service as a new component of our website!

By selecting answers to a few quick questions, we will be able to give you instant feedback on the recommended approach to your housing search in Japan based on your conditions.  If you are searching for mid-to-long term housing via traditional leases in Japan, we will also be able to answer a wide variety of vital questions ranging from contract terms to the availability of pet-friendly apartments and more.

Of course, our experienced and fully-bilingual staff will still be on hand to address more detailed inquiries via email, but we hope that this addition will help to clear up some common points of confusion that we find foreigners frequently encounter when starting their housing search in Japan.  Please feel free to try out our Housing Concierge Chat as your convenience!

2018-03-22

FREA recently placed in the Accelerator Program hosted by Keikyu Railway Corporation! And Currently Seeking Foreign Entrepreneurs

I am extremely pleased to announce that FREA recently placed in the Accelerator Program hosted by Keikyu Railway Corporation, and will be expanding our business to support foreign entrepreneurs in their Tokyo market pursuits.
 

 

Our company has been dealing in foreigner-specialized real estate for some time, and has assisted numerous housing search requests from clients who are arriving in Japan primarily for business purposes.  However, subsequently I would often hear from them how difficult it is to conduct business activity within Japan, and I came to realize that there was in fact a severe lack of foreigner-friendly resources for many vital business support services.
 

 

By taking our company’s existing strengths in property dealings and bilingual support and utilizing the vast business resources of the Keikyu Accelerator program, I hope to
move forwards in offering comprehensive entreprenurial support for foreigners in Tokyo.
 

 

In conjunction with this, FREA is currently actively conducting interview surveys with foreigner entrepreneurs seeking to establish companies in Tokyo!  In return for participation, we are offering complimentary use of our business support services (plus a bonus Starbucks gift certificate) upon launch at this time!

 

Please see the below link for details:

 

 
 
 

 

– Nana Yamakawa (CEO)
2017-12-26

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from FREA!

Our office will be closed from tomorrow, December 27th through January 4th in accomodation of end-of-year holidays. We will resume operations on Friday, January 5th, 2018.

FREA would like to take this time to express our profound gratitude to all our clients for their business, and our staff will continue endeavoring to provide the very best service we can.

Wishing everyone a wonderful upcoming new year!

2017-12-18

Foreigner-Focused Agency Receives Special Award in Mitsubishi Estate Business Competition

On November 14th, 2017, Mitsubishi Estate (based in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo) hosted its business plan contest known as “Corporate Accelerator Program”, and foreigner-focused leasing intermediary company FREA Co., Ltd. (based in Chiyoda ward, Tokyo) was selected to receive a special prize.

FREA, in response to the underfilled demand by foreigner tenants for furnished housing properties, currently offers the leasing of essential furniture and appliances, along with other supplemental services which help to facilitate a comfortable life in Japan.

The “Corporate Accelerator Program” aims to collect business proposals—from venture projects and existing companies alike—and establish new business models in conjunction with Mitsubishi Estate and its numerous assets, sales channels, and financial expertise.

Entries were accepted earlier this year from June through October, with a total of 255 applicants received.

Mitsubishi Estate cited the company’s keen focus on the increasing influx of residents from overseas, and its relevance from a consumer perspective as a service dealing closely with the complicated process of relocation as key factors in selecting FREA for the award.

Award recipient, CEO Nana Yamakawa of FREA stated, “To receive recognition from such a large-scale corporation as Mitsubishi Estate is a great boost of confidence to our company. We hope this further invigorates the ongoing expansion of our business.”

 

2017-12-02

To the HR Departments of Companies Employing Foreigner Staff

Have you encountered any obstacles or difficulties when arranging company housing for staff of foreign nationalities?

FREA Co., Ltd. is a real estate brokerage company specializing in foreigners!

All our staff are bilingual in Japanese and English, and can provide full support from start-to-finish including property searching, viewings, contract-signing and move-in.  Throughout this entire process, we are able to communicate directly with the actual individual(s) who will be residing in the company housing, making sure to take their personal needs and wishes into account.  To facilitate an even smoother relocation experience, FREA also offers supplemental services for utility set-up, furniture/appliance leasing options (exclusive to corporate housing contracts), and airport pick-up/drop-off.

 

Please have a look through the information on our website at your convenience below, and don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your company’s housing needs!

Japanese: http://tokyo-apartments.jp/jp/real-estate-brokerage/

English: http://tokyo-apartments.jp/en/leasing-apartments/

Furthermore, our company’s leasing brokerage fee is in fact set at the same standard rate as the general real estate market. There are no added charges for the use of interpreting services you might encounter with a conventional agency.  We are also readily able to accept Japanese clients as well.

2017-10-10

New FREA Website!

 

In conjunction with heading into our third year of service, FREA is very pleased to unveil our newly revamped website!

 

We have added informational resources detailing the leasing application process and costs for housing in Japan, which we hope will offer more clarity for what can often be a confusing and overwhelming experience for foreign nationals.

 

Over the past two years FREA has also expanded its roster of services in additional directions such as property management and business establishment logistics, and our website has been updated to reflect that.  We look forward to continuing to offer our clients the best bilingual real estate services we can in the Tokyo area!

2017-09-14

FREA celebrates its 2 year anniversary!

FREA is beginning its 3rd year of establishment as of today!
Initially starting out as a solo business venture in a shared office space, my company has now grown to a standalone office with a bilingual staff count of five.

During the first year, I received the 3rd place award for agencies by Real Estate Japan.
In the second year, we placed in the Women Entrepreneurs Project Organization Grand Prix for our expansion into furniture and appliance leasing.

Working together with my staff, we directed our full efforts towards putting our clients first at every turn.
And although we are a small company, I feel that we are gradually beginning to establish ourselves as a real estate firm specializing in foreign nationals.

Now, as we enter the third year, I would like to take all my experiences in dealing with foreign nationals thus far and continue to devote myself to providing even better service.

Thank you so much.

– Nana Yamakawa (CEO)

2017-09-07

FREA at Startup Hub Tokyo

FREA was featured in the newspaper!

The brief article highlights our recent meeting at Startup Hub Tokyo.

“Foreigner-focused realtor agency FREA (based in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) held a consultation meeting at Startup Hub Tokyo on the 20th of this month with an overseas investor looking to purchase rental housing in Japan. In addition to the simple act of purchasing housing, the potential needs for establishing a company as well as property management services also are being considered. Startup Hub Tokyo was selected as the location to host the meeting due to its availability of in-house resources for business registration as well as tax and visa advisement services.“

2017-07-10

How to Find a Good Real Estate Agent in Tokyo: Interview with Real Estate Japan

FREA’s recent interview with Real Estate Japan is now up on their website!

Nana Yamakawa (CEO) discusses some of the common pitfalls and obstacles that foreigners encounter during their housing search in Japan, as well as some tips on how to approach the tricky process. We hope this article helps to shed some informative light on the Japanese real estate market, which is still largely underrepresented when it comes to English-language resources.

 

How to Find a Good Real Estate Agent in Tokyo: Interview with Local Agent — FREA

2017-06-23

Moving in Japan? FREA recommends Apple Moving Center!

Recently, FREA has been in correspondence with another company, providing them with advice and direction on how to better serve non-Japanese residents in Japan. That company is Apple Moving Center, which we would like to introduce on our page today.

Apple Moving Center offers comprehensive moving services that are fast, friendly and affordably priced. They provide services for a wide range of moving tasks such as washing machine setup and economically removing oversize furniture/appliances. Pricing is straightforward with a variety of options to suit each household:s budget. In addition, they have top customer ratings and are ranked No. 1 on the major Japanese review site KAKAKU.com.

They have English-speaking staff available as well. FREA would like to wholeheartedly recommend that our customers consider Apple’s services for their future moving needs!

http://www.apple-hikkoshi.co.jp/

2017-06-12

FREA places in Women Entrepreneurs Project Organization Grand Prix

Foreigner-focused Real Estate Agency FREA (Tokyo, Chiyoda Ward) emerged as the winner of the Women Entrepreneurs Project Organization Grand Prix. The award ceremony will be held on July 15, at which time FREA will be awarded a prize sum of 2,000,000 yen.

The competition was comprised of proposals from female entrepreneurs on ideas they were looking to implement in their business. The entries were judged on the excellence of the ideas as well as how realistically they could be implemented. The company FREA currently acts as an intermediary company for foreigners seeking housing in Japan. Pre-furnished housing is scarce in Japan, and occurrences of foreigners being turned away from existing furniture leasing companies are common. It is this unfilled need for furnished properties that prompted FREA to begin offering furniture leasing services.

“We plan to utilize the added support from the Grand Prix to further improve our services” , stated Nana Yamakawa (CEO).

Nana Yamakawa’s commentary:

Recently, I won the Grand Prix hosted by the “Women Entrepreneurs Project Organization.”
http://www.kigyopro.or.jp/
I feel very honored to be able to receive such an award.

Foreign nationals, in comparison to Japanese citizens, often have short-term stays of less than two years. Taking into account various factors such as economical and/or time constraints, it is understandable that many of them seek furnished properties.

However, in Japan when you think of furnished properties, they typically lack the style and originality found in business hotels. Or, some properties may be modern and cool but the rent is incredible expensive.

As we know, it is quite difficult for a foreign national to secure a property lease in Japan, and it is also difficult to harness furniture leasing services for many of the same reasons.

Our company, which acts as an intermediary to rental properties, also offers furniture leasing services, providing affordable yet modern and stylish options for rooms.

The number of foreign nationals arriving in Japan continues to increase. I feel that holding an understanding of the needs of foreigners coupled with knowledge of the current housing property situation is what led me to this current position.

2017-06-01

FREA Begins English-Speaking Office Environment!

As of today, FREA has instated an English-speaking enviroment in our office!

We hope to continuously hone the English skill levels of all staff to offer you the best services we can!!

2017-05-18

CEO Nana Yamakawa on her university days

FREA was recently featured in the newspaper!

Nana Yamakawa, CEO of foreigner-focused real estate agency FREA Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Chiyoda Ward), once traveled the world for eight consecutive months during her university days.

Ms. Yamakawa attended Chuo University in Tokyo. At the height of academic success during her senior year, she abruptly realized that because she had been so focused on completing her thesis, she had closed off her mind to anything besides studying.
After this, she resolved to spend her remaining available months before graduation to travel abroad extensively. This was made possible by a discounted round-trip ticket package available through her university.

Ms. Yamakawa’s experiences during this time expanded her horizons and also greatly helped her increase her English proficiency, a skill which continues to be of valuable use in her current work.

2017-05-08

FREA begins furniture/appliance leasing program

FREA was recently featured in the newspaper!

Foreigners who are planning to reside in Japan for 2-3 years often seek homes that come furnished with the essentials (bed, refrigerator, washing machine, etc.). However, they face many obstacles when dealing with companies in Japan, as many furniture leasing services lack the resources to communicate in English or are reluctant to lease to foreign nationals.

In response to this, FREA has begun to offer furniture leases in conjunction with their real estate services for foreigners. “We hope to expand our selection of furnishing styles over time to meet our various clients’ needs effectively.” -Nana Yamakawa (President)

2017-04-27

Interviewed by Real Estate Japan!

Our interview with Real Estate Japan—the biggest English real estate portal site in Japan—is now up on their website!

(Article is in Japanese)

外国人市場で活躍する不動産企業インタビュー「株式会社FREA」様

外人向けの不動産ポータルサイト会社 Real Estate Japanからインタビューを受けました。もしよければご覧ください。
記事が、なぜか日本語です。

2017-04-25

During April 29th – May 7th, FREA agents will be out of office.

Hello!

During April 29th – May 7th, FREA agents will be out of office.

This is a time of reflection and so we would like to thank all those who have supported us so far. Thank you for your business, loyalty and support!

For new customers, welcome! Unfortunately, you caught us at an inconvenient time. However, do not worry, we will make sure to provide our very best when we return.

2016-12-27

During December 28th – Jan 4th, FREA agents will be out of office.

This is a time of reflection and so we would like to thank all those who have supported us so far. Thank you for your business, loyalty and support!For new customers, welcome! Unfortunately you caught us at an inconvenient time. However do not worry, we will make sure to provide our very best when we return.We hope you enjoy your holidays & wish you a Happy New Year!