SunBridge Emerging Leaders

2021 SunBridge Emerging Leaders

Coming soon!


Photo of Eric and Satoshi on stage

The Emerging Leader Award will be presented to a company having a credible Japan – U.S. link that is young, dynamic, growing, and entrepreneurial.  We expect to give one U.S. award to an American company and one Japan award to a Japanese company.   Each winning company will stand out as particularly noteworthy for some specific innovation that is beginning to show a major impact, typically through demonstrated growth so far and also great future promise.

General Characteristics Sought

Candidate companies are likely to have originated as private startups that have been in existence 5-10 years. Annual sales should have already entered onto a track of rapid growth, with most recent annual sales probably in the tens of million dollars. Japan Emerging Leaders should exhibit a similar size and growth pattern to that of U.S. Emerging Leaders, although they may have been in existence for a longer period of time in order to achieve a similar scale of demonstrated impact and future potential.

Selection Process

The Steering Committee of the Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards has the overall responsibility for the Awards, including selection process and, ultimately, the credibility of Award recipients. The Innovation Advisory Council (IAC) plays a critical role in nominating and evaluating credible companies and in ranking finalists as meritorious and truly deserving Innovation Award recipients.

1. Nomination 2. Discussion 3. Voting

Selection Criteria

The following five criteria will be used in identifying candidates and selecting the winners of the Emerging Leader U.S. Award and Emerging Leader Japan Award. We invite all interested parties to nominate an exciting company that fulfills most of these criteria, even if it does not match all of them.

  1. Impact of the company’s innovation. Is the company’s innovation causing a significant disruption (change) from pre-existing conditions (e.g. size or demographics of a market, appearance of new competitors with similar business models, displacement of some earlier product or service, etc.)?
  2. Uniqueness. How unique is the company’s innovation for which it is being considered (i.e. a new product or service, business model, business strategy, or organizational structure)?
  3. Market validation. Objective measures of volume and growth in sales or profits, cash flows, market capitalization, and other demonstrable impacts will be considered in selecting each winner. For business model innovations, has the new business model been validated by the market?
  4. Future promise. What is the likelihood that the company will continue to grow rapidly in the future and achieve significant, sustainable long-term success.?
  5. US – Japan business relevance. We seek to honor companies having a meaningful Japan- U.S. connection. For U.S. companies, we honor companies where Japan plays a role in their business development and/or strategy. For Japanese companies, we honor companies that have a U.S. or global business strategy or other important connection.

Additional Awards

Recognizing that innovation is not predictable, and most certainly there will be exciting Japan – U.S. innovation successes in categories that cannot be predicted in advance, the Steering Committee, with the consensus of the IAC and the JSNC Board, can also decide to present awards to worthy innovators in special categories from time to time.

For example, the Steering Committee may identify a non-profit organization worthy of recognition as the recipient of an “Outstanding Social Innovator Award” for the “game changing” nature of its contribution to Society. Although the selection of such an extraordinary award may not involve a regular competition, the award may be granted with the consensus of the IAC.

In previous years, the Steering Committee and IAC honored Xerox Corporation for its 50-year partnership with Fuji – Xerox and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos for Distinguished Accomplishment.