Ask one of Japan's most successful entrepreneurs what it takes to succeed in business and he'll give an answer shot full of American enthusiasm: Never give up.
"Even though you're on the road to success, as an entrepreneur you'll face a lot of failures. You have to overcome them and continually strive to achieve," Shoji Kanazawa, founder and chairman of Tokyo-based Maruko Inc., said yesterday during a visit to Baltimore.
Maruko is Japan's largest real estate syndication company, with 1989 sales of $691.4 million. This year, the Kanazawa Endowment, a foundation established by Mr. Kanazawa to promote worldwide entrepreneurship and support international programs, endowed the University of Maryland's Michael D. Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship with a grant of $500,000.
The Dingman Center opens a two-day conference on international entrepreneurship today with the help of that grant.
The center is under its third director. Core programs got off the ground only a few months ago, and efforts to generate funds were faltering.
The grant will help the center build a strong bond between small and emerging growth companies in Japan and the United States, Dr. Rudolph P. Lamone, dean of the UM Business School, said at a luncheon yesterday at the Center Club in Mr. Kanazawa's honor.
Half of the grant is in an endowed fund to support programs at the center, and the remaining funds will be given in $50,000 installments to support conferences to help businesspeople from the United States and Japan learn to do business in each other's countries, said Charles O. Heller, the center's director.
Today's conference agenda includes sessions on cultural differences in the Japanese and U.S. business environments.