2019 BBA Nominees: Entrepreneur of the Year

Written by BCCJ
October 23, 2019


Written by BCCJ
October 23, 2019

By the conclusion of the 2019 British Business Awards (BBA2019) nomination period, on Friday 18 October at noon, we had received 32 eligible nominations across 5 categories.

The following 6 companies are now in the running to lift the 2019 BBA Entrepreneur of the Year trophy.

“Nominees should be individuals who exemplify entrepreneurialism and have created commercial success through an entrepreneurial spirit. Nominees will typically be leading non-listed organisations in Japan with 25 employees or fewer.”

2019 BBA Entrepreneur of the Year 

(in alphabetical order):


IROCO Design (Sonia Jackson)

IROCO Design, fervent believers in the transformative power of design, are spearheading the introduction of new designer furniture brands to Japan – offering architects, interior designers, office leasing, hotels and event organisers swift access to designer furniture from the world’s leading furniture brands – for rent or for sale.


QUEST TOKYO (Kirsten O’Connor)

Kirsten O’Connor established QUEST TOKYO KK in 2018, leaping from Headteacher’s office into the entrepreneurial arena. Her mission continues to be providing high quality and inclusive educational services in Tokyo, including preparation to open a learning hub for children with learning challenges, combining an educational ethos with a business drive.


 RYOZAN PARK (Rachel Ferguson & Noritaka Takezawa)

In 2012, Japanese-Scottish couple, Nori and Rachel, had a vision of an international community committed to work-life balance, diversity, gender equality and entrepreneurialism through village-style interaction. Today, they are Tokyo’s only company offering integrated accommodation, offices and childcare: an oasis in the corporate jungle.


STERLING CONTENT (Kathryn Wortley)

Kathryn has developed Sterling Content from a writing and editing service to a growing business offering comprehensive content creation and communications. In the past year she has attracted multinational clients and was contracted to provide international communications consultation for the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee.



Tacchi is the trusted digital product partner of many Japan-based companies, helping to grow their businesses using modern design and cutting-edge technology, and bringing a startup mindset to enterprise and scalability to early stage startups. It also contributes to the future of Tokyo’s creative and technology communities through a variety of activities.


YUZU KYODAI (Sven Palys & David Röhrscheid & Markus Winter)

Yuzu Kyodai was born in Tokyo over a sip of Yuzu liqueur. Three entrepreneurs with different consultancy backgrounds felt that the industry had lost its creativity. Working across brand strategy and innovation but always anchored in culture, Yuzu Kyodai pioneers the fusion of art with business across its four offices: Tokyo, Berlin, Shanghai and Singapore.



The decision on a winning BBA2019 entry is the result of the combined score of 6 separate judges, who independently score each submission using the same scoring matrix.

To ensure transparency, each judge independently returns his or her score sheet to the BCCJ office by 7 November 2018 and the results are tabulated confidentially by the BCCJ Executive Director. The scores from each judge are then totaled for each nominee, and the nomination with the highest accumulative score is declared the category winner.

In the event of two nominees receiving the same final score, all judges will be asked to review their scores for these companies / individuals, and the submission with the highest score from this second round of judging will be declared the winner.

The final results remain confidential until the BBA ceremony – held on the evening of November 8 2019 at the Hotel Gajoen Tokyo.




Nominees for BBA2019 awards must be one or more of the following:

– British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) Member
– UK-owned and Japan-based firm
– Japan-based firm or individual with significant UK links


Good luck to all BBA2019 nominees, and stay tuned for updates on other award categories!