Open Network Lab

Open Network Lab HOKKAIDO 4th Batch – Application Closed.

Thank you for your applications.



Building an innovation ecosystemin Hokkaido

  • Discovering startups that can leverage Hokkaido’s primary sector, tourism, rich natural world, and other assets to be active on the global stage
  • Industry, government, academia, and private-sector integration to support investment, incubation, and commercialization for a new future
  • Promoting open innovation by Hokkaido companies
  • Startup-centered invigoration of regional communities

※A framework, resembling an ecosystem, in which companies, universities, and others work together to generate many innovations


Supporting startups utilizing Hokkaido’s unique assets to solve problems

  • Primary sector

  • Space industry

  • Environment

Open Network Lab HOKKAIDO is focusing on the primary sector, space industry, and biotechnology and health care fields as described in the vision of Hokkaido and Sapporo, which is a Startup Ecosystem Promotion Base City. We will actively select startups taking on these challenges in the 4th Batch. Of course, we will also continue taking applications from startups working on issues facing Hokkaido, such as the environment, tourism, and DX.

In the 4th Batch we are once again collaborating with Open Network Lab, our sister program. Open Network Lab HOKKAIDO is being held fully online. We look forward to applications from Hokkaido, as well as those from outside the prefecture and outside of Japan.


Powerful backup for doing business in Hokkaido,
across Japan, and around and the world through D2 Garage’s network

Open Network Lab was launched in 2010 by Digital Garage. We brought this expertise and community to Hokkaido in 2018 to start Open Network Lab HOKKAIDO (Onlab HOKKAIDO) with the mission of “incubating startups from Hokkaido that can compete on the global stage.”

Based in Sapporo, this roughly three-month accelerator program is for developing startups. It supports your business through activity funding, office spaces, and help for polishing your business, as well as mentoring by specialists in various fields.

Startup support integrating industry, government, and academia

We make maximum use of The Hokkaido Shimbun Press’ media network of Hokkaido universities and organizations to solve regional issues and develop next-generation human resources.



All sorts of support is offered, from hypothesis testing to presentations. Opportunities are also provided to receive advice from specialists, investors, and established entrepreneurs in various fields from Japan and abroad.



Onlab HOKKAIDO collaborates with our partners, as well as Sapporo City and numerous local governments in Hokkaido, to provide proof of concept sites. This program is unique thanks to its environment in which participants can dynamically take on challenges in Hokkaido.



Through the Onlab network, we hold many seminars for sharing entrepreneurial expertise and provide numerous opportunities to communicate with graduates and other startups.



All teams are given up to 10 million yen in equity investment to fund their activities during the program. They also have opportunities to present their businesses to investors, business companies, and members of the media at the Demo Day.



Participating teams can use coworking spaces including Inter x cross Creative Center (Shiroishi-ku, Sapporo City) and SAPPORO Incubation Hub DRIVE (Chuo-ku, Sapporo City).



Gain access to numerous tools and resources from our partner companies. Our partners serve fundamental needs for every startup, ranging from infrastructure, development tools, hiring, and back-office tools—all at discounted or free prices.


Hokkaido’s only accelerator program with industry-government-academic collaboration
Speedy proofs of concept at a wide range of testing sites with specialists in the primary sector, space industry, biotechnology, health care, and other fields

Online (remote) program participation

We offer the same program as Open Network Lab, our sister program. A structure is in place to help manage your business progress, including online mentoring and idea sharing.

Hokkaido’s only accelerator program with industry-government-academic integration

Resources are provided to promptly test your hypothesis, including mentoring by specialists in various fields through industry-government-academic collaboration in Hokkaido.

Test hypotheses and conduct proofs of concept in collaboration with Hokkaido local governments

Support is given to verify issues and conduct proofs of concept in collaboration with Hokkaido local governments, including STARTUP CITY SAPPORO, Sapporo City’s startup support project, and the Sapporo-Hokkaido Startup Ecosystem Promotion Council.

Continual support after the program

In addition to utilizing The Hokkaido Shimbun Press’ media network, participants can explore all sorts of business potential, including the Digital Garage Group’s global community, finance, PR, marketing, and business collaboration.


Over 170 program alumni
playing an active role in their respective industries and regions



Ikeda Teppei(2nd Batch)

A program designed for success

Startups are faced with so many tasks, and I think Onlab HOKKAIDO is unique for providing active support to increase the possibility of success. Participants thoroughly polish their business ideas in the first part of the program, and are given unbelievable opportunities to hear the opinions of many famous businesspeople serving as external mentors. Another major benefit is the ability to be introduced to many people and services after the program, and to join networks that would be extremely difficult or impossible for regular startups to access.

Fant, Inc. CEO

Takano Satsuki(2nd Batch)

Turning ideas into reality

I had a vague business idea when I joined the program, but I had no clue whether there would be any user demand. During the program I repeatedly formed hypotheses about user issues and tested them, which brought previously unseen user issues to my attention and allowed me to polish my business idea. It was also great to be able to consult online with mentors in Tokyo from where I live in Hokkaido.

Onlab alumni* Excerpts from all programs

Click here for previous participants


Extensive mentoring to support your business, from Open Network Lab mentors to people leading Hokkaido’s future and specialists in various fields


Multiple interviews will be held with applicants who pass document screening between the application deadline and the start of the program.

The Seed Accelerator Program is held once per year.
For the latest information regarding application, please refer to our website, Facebook, Twitter and email newsletter.

* Please note that the content of our support may change due to the effects of COVID-19.


Are you up for the challenge?

Program Open Network Lab HOKKAIDO 4th Batch
Deadline Deadline Noon on 2021/5/20 (Thu)
Participation Requirements
  • If research results, patents or other intellectual property rights (the “IPs”) are to be used in the business of the applicant(s)( the “Applicant”), the Applicant shall have the rights to use the IPs in its business and shall not infringe the rights of any third party by such use of the IPs.
  • The Applicant shall have skills to produce prototypes or achieve a certain level of business progress during the Open Network Lab HOKKAIDO “Seed Accelerator” program (the “Program”) which runs approximately three (3) months and demonstrate the results.
  • If the Applicant has received investment by third party(ies), the Applicant shall have obtained prior consent from such investor(s) to the Applicant’s participation in the Program.
  • The Applicant’s business shall not violate public policy.
  • The Applicant, other members of the team applying for the Program (the “Team”), their relatives or their stakeholders shall not be a part of anti-social forces, and shall not have any relationship with anti-social forces.
  • The Applicant and any other member of the Team who has nationality other than that of Japan shall be legally qualified to stay in Japan during the period of the Program (the “Program Period”).
  • The Applicant and any other member of the Team under the age of twenty (20) shall have acquired the consent of their parent(s) or their legal guardian(s).
Terms of participation
  • During the Program Period, the Applicant shall attend events such as lectures, mentoring, regular meetings(scheduled to be held during the daytimes on weekdays and to be spend about 10 hours a week)and other events relating to the Program designated by D2 Garage, Inc. (“D2 Garage”).
  • The Applicant who passes the screening of the entry form for the Program shall attend the Conduct Interviews held before beginning the Program (scheduled to be held a few times).
  • If the Applicant doesn’t have a corporation at the time of application for the Program, the Applicant shall incorporate a corporation immediately after the participation in the Program.
  • The Applicant agrees that its activities may be posted on the websites or other media designated by D2 Garage, its shareholders, Digital Garage, Inc. and the Hokkaido Shimbun Press, and any of their group companies (collectively “D2 Garage Group”) in addition to the official website of Open Network Lab.
  • During the Program Period, the Applicant shall concentrate on the business that they have undertaken to conduct in the application for the Program.
  • During the Program Period, the Applicant shall not have discussions regarding possible investments in the Applicant or possible business alliances with any third party without the prior consent of D2 Garage.
  • The Applicant shall allocate its shares to D2 Garage or any company(ies) of D2 Garage Group (if it is incorporated afterwards, it shall do so after incorporation).
  • The Applicant shall submit additional documents for screening or investing by D2 Garage, if requested by D2 Garage.
  • In addition, the Applicant shall comply with other obligations including those regarding the application procedures. Furthermore, the Applicant shall agree to the terms and conditions of participation to be separately designated by D2 Garage.
Application Process
  1. Apply via entry form
  2. Entry Form Check We will review your entry form and evaluate your product idea, target market and team.
  3. 1st Interview There will be a face-to-face or online interview with Onlab. *We may ask you to have multiple interviews.
  4. Final Interview Visit our office and give a presentation to board members of Digital Garage.
  5. Program Start



  • 室蘭工業大学
  • 室蘭工業大学
  • 公立はこだて未来大学
  • 札幌市立大学
  • 北海道科学大学
  • 北海道情報大学
  • NoMaps

Collaboration Partners


Have any questions?

Application-Related Questions

When does the application period for the next Seed Accelerator Program begin?
One batch is held during the year. The application begins during March. We review every application in the order in which they are submitted.
There are no engineers on my team; can I still apply?
We will gladly accept applications of all candidates regardless of the structure of your team. However, it is expected that your product is developed and released during the duration of the program; therefore, precedence goes to teams with engineers.
I am the only member in the team; can I still apply?
Yes, however we expect you to develop and release your product by the end of the program.
I am a minor or a student; can I still apply?
Yes, however in the case of minors, we require parental or legal guardian consent.
Can I submit application documents in English?
Please submit applications either in English or Japanese.
I don’t speak Japanese; can I still apply?
You may apply as long as you speak English.
I don’t speak English; can I still apply?
No worries! Onlab staff will translate as necessary.
Are teams with multiple services eligible to apply for the program?
Yes, however due to the limited time we can provide each team during the interview process, it will be necessary to talk about each service within a fixed amount of time. Therefore, the time to promote and appeal each service will be shortened.
Can I still participate in Onlab even if I raised seed money?
We welcome all companies, whether or not they have raised money.
Is it possible to apply for the same business idea multiple times during the period?
Yes, you can apply multiple times during the period.

Interview Process Questions

Is there a language designation for the interview?
Interviews are available in Japanese and English.
Is it required for all team members to be present during the interview?
No, any number of team members may participate provided that they are able to describe the service and answer any questions that may be asked.
Can my team members participate in the interview?
Yes, however we ask that each team limits participants to three members.
Can we receive feedback on the application results?
Due to the large quantity of applications, we do not give out feedback on application results.
Should I make a presentation at the interview based on the slide material that was attached to my application?
Yes, we ask you to follow the slide. Unless you have the interviewer’s instruction, you do not need to send in your updated slides prior to the interview.

Program-Related Questions

Do I need to stay in Hokkaido during the program?
Not necessary, if you can participate online. With the impact of the new coronavirus infection in mind, we are prepared to complete the selection process and program all online.
What is the fee to join the program?
The program is free of cost.
Do I have to be incorporated to join the program?
Incorporation is not necessary prior to the program; however, we require all teams to incorporate during the middle of program.
Can I participate in other programs at the same time?
We ask that teams refrain from joining multiple programs so they don’t mix up priorities and tasks.

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