Białystok's 'Silicon Wilderness' has just captured the attention of Japanese entrepreneurs. This is all thanks to the technological leader, TenderHut Capital Group, which visited the land of cherry blossoms as part of an economic mission of ICT companies from Europe. Robert Strzelecki, CEO of TenderHut, and Łukasz Stypułkowski, Product Manager for Zonifero, talk about the challenges that Polish businesspeople faced in Tokyo.
An investment in future relations
– We had the opportunity to participate in the mission to Japan thanks to European Funds, and when we got there, we collaborated with the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, which organized the Polish stand at the fair. Of course, when heading for Japan, our goal was to return with our first signed contract. However, it became clear that acquiring a Japanese client would be a marathon for the entire TenderHut Group, rather than a sprint – Robert Strzelecki jokes. – But we are persistent and perseverant. We had expected the Japanese market to be difficult. In Japan, signing a contract is the crowning achievement of a long process of building trust in business – TenderHut’s CEO adds. The company's representatives were able to hold a series of meetings with both local companies and global players like Panasonic, Mitsubishi and Deloitte. – But the most important thing was our talk with the Japanese division of Accenture, which helped us to enroll in the TECH BUSINESS CAMP TOKYO program. This event will certainly support us in making our first big steps in the direction of opening an office in Tokyo – says Stypułkowski.
Polish Agency for Enterprise Development
Polish programmers are some of the best in the world, and companies from our country have been working on a global scale for quite a while. The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) is tasked with, among other things, supporting Polish entrepreneurs in entering foreign markets. The agency implements the Polish IT Promotion Program, and part of it are stands at the most important IT fairs and conferences around the world. – All Polish companies from the ICT sector interested in expansion onto the Asian market could take advantage of the stand at the Japan IT Week fair and during accompanying events. Over the course of 4 days of intensive meetings, Polish entrepreneurs had a one-of-a-kind opportunity to present their capabilities on the occasion of one of the leading industry events held in Japan’s capital. – says Magdalena Zwolińska, Expert at the Entrepreneurship Support Department at PARP. – This was the perfect place to meet potential business partners and develop collaboration on global markets. Conscious of the ambitions of TenderHut and its achievements, it was with great pleasure that we made it possible for the company to take advantage of the Polish stand and hold business talks there – Zwolińska adds.
The surprising reality of business in Japan
For Poles, the language barrier turned out to be a big surprise. Japan is the third largest economy in the world and one of the most technologically developed countries, so it would seem that English language skills are common there. – Unfortunately, theory is much different from practice – Strzelecki jokes. – Of course, upper-level managers speak fluent English, but in large companies that employ several thousand people, the lion's share of employees do not use English, and this may pose a problem in business relations – he adds. It also turned out that trust in business is not just a slogan in the land of cherry blossoms, but the foundation for doing business. European companies should know that it is necessary to be patient and give the best impression possible, in order to count on long-term collaboration. – I also have a piece of advice for people going on a business trip to Japan – business cards from the Japanese should be treated with the greatest respect – says Robert Strzelecki with a smile. – This may sound funny, but it is an important matter in a country where business is mainly based on relationships. It is worth having business cards in two languages, hand them in with both hands, and under no circumstance should one write on them, because this is considered to be the greatest faux pas and may close the road to cooperation permanently – warns Robert Strzelecki.
Conclusions from the economic mission
The economic mission to Japan allowed TenderHut’s representatives to learn about the business culture and behaviors of the Japanese. This knowledge is essential for better preparation for further stages of building relationships. – We have several plans – from signing the first contract, through acquiring a business partner who could represent the interests of the entire capital group in Japan, to purchasing or merging the entire company, which would naturally become the tenth division of TenderHut Group in the world and the first in Asia – Strzelecki explains. – We also remain in close contact with the EU Japan Center for Industrial Cooperation [Japanese member of the Enterprise and Mrs. Eliza Klonowska, who is serving as Director of the Foreign Trade Office in Japan. These contacts will certainly pay off in the future – adds Łukasz Stypułkowski.
The TenderHut Capital Group consists of 4 mutually cooperating subsidiaries. SoftwareHut specializes in designing, adapting and developing IT systems (websites, mobile applications, dedicated systems and many others) and offers broadly defined IT outsourcing services. Solution4Labs renders services for implementation and adaptation of LIMS-class systems to meet the individual needs of laboratories. LegalHut provides legal and technical consulting services in the area of public procurements and tender procedures relating to IT products and services. ProtectHut is focused on cybersecurity problems, supporting clients in implementing European directives concerning security in cyberspace.