Finding future social entrepreneurs from within Japan. Actively recruiting and cultivating next generation Changemakers. -Ashoka Japan

REPORT 02

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The Ultimate Changemaker, Mr. Sascha Haselmayer, Founder/CEO of CITYMART

imageOn December 10th, 2015, Ashoka Japan hosted “The 9th Fellow Speaker Series” at GRIPS in Roppongi, Tokyo. The main guest speaker, Mr. Sascha Haselmayer, is the founder and CEO of CITYMART. In the introductory speech, the founder and chairperson of Ashoka Japan, Nana Watanabe, explained the history of Ashoka and its systemic change initiative, then introduced Mr. Haselmayer as the "ultimate changemaker".

CITYMART is an online platform that helps local governments realize effective public investments

imageCITYMART is the first global platform that connects local governments to new ideas from citizens and entrepreneurs to solve urgent problems in cities. The founder, Mr. Haselmayer, started his career as an architect and urban planner, but he soon realized that things like rebuilding and functional designs wouldn’t solve the problems in communities.

So in 2011, he founded CITYMART with the motto, “Transforming the way cities solve problems”. Currently, his company is working with more than 50 cities worldwide. In Mr. Haselmayer`s speech, he used case studies from Stockholm, Sweden and St. Paul, Minnesota, USA to demonstrate different strategies for helping the blind. His case studies illustrated that different results can be achieved through various methodologies.

Sharing ideas with Mr. Ryo Yamazaki, the community innovator in Japan

imageIn the second part of the session, another panelist, Mr. Ryo Yamazaki, a Japanese community innovator, shared his thoughts on the situation in Japan. Mr. Yamazaki concluded that currently, Japanese local municipalities don’t openly communicate with global private companies that are using new methods and technologies. Therefore, he said he wants to help these two parties connect with each other more.

So far, Mr. Yamazaki has been working with more than 250 cities in Japan to rejuvenate communities. His approach includes hosting workshops and encouraging residents to directly participate in solving problems.

Towards the end of the event, during the Q&A session, audiences were seeking advice/opinions for their current issues, and asking detailed questions regarding the CITYMART structure as a business. Overall, more than 250 audience members reacted positively to Mr. Haselmayer. He is known as one of the most popular changemakers. Many believe that this civic problem-solver will be influential in changing this world drastically in the next 50 years.

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