The 8th generation young entrepreneurs of Ryukyu Frogs *1 visited Satoshi Sugie, CEO of personal mobility device startup Whill *2 on August 18. The entrepreneurs are all students from junior high schools, high schools and colleges.
Lessons the entrepreneurs learned are
- Sugie values experiencing and interacting with clients the most when he develops products (he spent 2 months in a wheelchair himself and talked to over 300 potential customers while he was developing the product)
- He uses all his energy in growing his company, making the products better *3, and managing members of the company. Nothing else matters to him right now.
- Just like how eye glasses became fashion items, he believes that something negative can be positive with great products. Whill is challenging the negative image of wheelchairs, and changing it to something positive, a cool personal mobility device.
The entrepreneurs felt Mr. Sugie’s passion and energy as an entrepreneur, and it was one of the most memorable experiences they had during their stay in Silicon Valley.
*1 Ryukyu Frogs is a entrepreneurship training project organized by private companies, which aims to educate next generation entrepreneurs. http://www.ryukyu-frogs.com/english.php
*2 Whill is developing next generation wheelchairs for everyone. Based on the result from NEDO’s startup support projects in 2012, Whill won the Good Design Grand Award in 2015. The CEO, Satoshi Sugie, is a graduate from 500 startups batch 6. http://www.g-mark.org/award/describe/42566
*3 Whill announced that “Model M,” which will be available in the US this summer, received FDA approval on March 22, 2016. http://whill.us/whill-receives-fda-clearance-for-next-generation-wheelchair/