OIST Innovation Accelerator


To support the startup and innovation ecosystem in Okinawa, OIST Innovation has launched the OIST Innovation Accelerator in 2018.

OIST Innovation Accelerator is Okinawa's first global startup accelerator program. Each year, a highly selective group of entrepreneurs from all over the world is chosen to participate in a fixed-term residency program at OIST, where they receive the funding, mentoring, and partnerships required to launch their technology ventures right here in Okinawa, Japan. OIST Innovation Accelerator combines talent, facilities, and resources from OIST with the most innovative, global technology entrepreneurs to build startups together. 

By catalyzing startups in Okinawa, OIST Innovation aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem around the university and contribute to self-sustaining economic development in the region.

As the first startup accelerator program aiming to recruit entrepreneurs from around the world to locate in Okinawa, we believe we can help innovative startups and founders build next generation solutions to meet local and global markets and realize Okinawa’s potential as a regional center for innovation in science and technology. 

Teams accepted to the accelerator program will work with OIST Innovation and its network of mentors based around the world to bring their product to market with funding from the Okinawa Prefectural Government.

Join the first global startup accelerator program in Okinawa!

We are looking for passionate entrepreneurs from all over the world with innovative technologies that have the potential to make a positive impact on society. Once selected, you will participate in a fixed-term residency program as an employee at OIST where you will receive the funding, mentoring, and partnerships needed to launch your technology ventures right here in Okinawa, Japan.

Program Duration

9-10 months (~March 31)


  • Entrepreneurs from Japan and overseas with an innovative technology ranging in Technology Readiness Level of 3-6.
  • All technology fields are considered except projects requiring pharmaceutical/drug clinical trials (pre-clinical is eligible).
  • If selected, at least 1 founder who has (or will have) ownership of the startup must relocate to Okinawa and devote 100% effort on the project for the duration of the accelerator program.


  • Awards will range from 3-10 million JPY
  • Funds can be used for: 
    • Personnel (salary, benefits)
    • Lab supplies
    • Contract research
    • Travel to conferences and exhibitions

Resources and Services

  • Lab and office space
  • Access to OIST core research equipment and resources
  • Connect with OIST research and business network
    • Faculty and researchers
    • Venture capital and industry partners
  • Mentorship
    • Expert industry mentors assigned to each project
  • Professional Training
    • Lean Startup Entrepreneurship Program
    • Business Planning Courses
    • Project Management Courses
  • Professional Services
    • Corporate legal advice
    • Intellectual property advice
  • Administrative Services
    • Program management by staff of the OIST Technology Development & Innovation Center
    • IT services

Application Process for Accelerator Program

  1. Applicants submit a Letter of Intent.
  2. Chosen applicants asked to submit a full proposal.
  3. Proposals reviewed by a panel of industry experts.
  4. Chosen applicants interviewed via web or in person.
  5. Final Selection announced.

Selection Criteria

  1. Passion and commitment to the technology and project
  2. Fit to OIST environment and resources
  3. Team
  4. Technical merit
  5. Market potential
  6. Goals achievable within program duration
  7. Societal impact (Okinawa, Japan, the World)


<OIST Innovation Accelerator FY2024 Round>

To apply for the OIST Innovation Accelerator, you must submit a Letter of Intent.

Application Period for FY2024 Round: Fall, 2023 (TBD)