Third year on the job—and already setting up a new business
I work at Moon. Moon is an innovation laboratory that specializes in incubating and developing new businesses that lie outside the parameters of what a trading company like Mitsui usually does. As an entrepreneur in residence here, I am working to create a new healthcare-related business with the support of my colleagues at Moon. I have to shoulder plenty of responsibility, but I also get to do more too. I really am building a new business from nothing.
I joined Moon in my second year at Mitsui. I studied biology at university and then did a year of post-graduate research on cancer. I was approached by Moon to help develop a new business in the healthcare space. I’m really lucky to get the chance to build a business from scratch at my age. No one here mentions my age or lack of experience. The atmosphere is frank and open and people respect each other’s perspectives and decisions.
I suppose the biggest difference with working at the Mitsui head office is that I have a greater degree of agency. At HQ, I was working on big teams where, to some extent, I was dependent on the understanding and approval of my superiors to move forward. Here at Moon, people ask me what I want to do, so I need to make up my own mind about things. Also, here we really look to the user and value their needs. The culture is different. Obviously, there’s a difference in the scale of the projects we handle here, so I can’t state categorically which I prefer, but as an individual you certainly can have a real impact at Moon.
Moon Tokyo has its own operating team of ten or so people. They provide me with support every step of the way. Each of the members has their own so-called “super power.” For example, one is an expert on presentations and can help me articulate what I want to say, while another is an expert on problem-solving and can help me work out my budget projections. The super power of one member is just being empathetic. I can talk frankly to him about what’s on my mind or the obstacles I’m grappling with—something that really helps put me back into a positive frame of mind. Their support can have a big impact in a short time.