TOKYO, Japan – May 23, 2023 – Amazon Web Services (AWS), an company, today announced a collaboration with Niigata Prefecture to accelerate the digital transformation (DX) of local industries. The collaboration focuses on four areas: 1) startup support, 2) DX support for local industries; 3) digital skill development for students and employees of the prefecture, and 4) digital transformation of prefectural administration.

Niigata Prefecture, with its economic and industrial vision of "realizing Niigata chosen by aspiring individuals and companies”, is prioritizing the growth of its local startup community to address various challenges faced by the region such as declining population and regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These startups are expected to provide new ideas and technologies and collaborate with local companies to create new value, promoting the revitalization and positive cycle of the regional economy and contributing to its sustainable development. Additionally, Niigata Prefecture is actively supporting startups in fields utilizing local resources, such as abundant agricultural, forestry, and marine resources, and aims to accompany and assist them in showcasing the unique characteristics of Niigata. Niigata Prefecture has been working on various initiatives to support startups. AWS will support targeted startups aiming to solve local challenges through programs such as AWS Activate, which provides training, technical support, and AWS credits to support startup growth. AWS will also provide them with opportunities to bridge with the international startup communities to explore future collaborations. AWS will also support community engagement through co-hosting events and seminars for engineers supporting startups, fostering collaboration among engineers and attracting new talent, thereby expanding the foundation of startups aiming for regional revitalization within the prefecture.   To accelerate innovation in Niigata Prefecture's local industries, AWS will provide access to the world’s leading cloud services for them to accelerate modernization to increase productivities. Additionally, AWS will offer training courses for Niigata utilizing the innovation facilities supported by the prefecture and share the knowledge and expertise to drive the promotion of DX in local industries.    

To promote overall innovation in the prefecture through DX, AWS will collaborate with local educational institutions through AWS Academy to provide cloud skill training and support the development of digital talent and accelerating the adoption of cloud services. AWS Academy is a free, ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum for higher education institutions that prepares students to pursue industry-recognized credentials and in-demand technology jobs. Participation has been confirmed from regional educational institutions such as Kaishi Professional University with a Department of Informatics, further expanding the network. Additionally, AWS will also work with the prefecture to strengthen and improve prefectural employees’ digital skills by providing online training, on-site courses, and consultation services so that the staff will be able to provide high quality services to the citizens in the prefecture by utilizing digital technology to fundamentally review their work methods and significantly improve work efficiency, while focusing on the work that is essential.    

By leveraging AWS's latest technologies and knowledge related to cloud and AI, AWS will support Niigata Prefecture's DX. AWS will provide digital skills training for prefectural staff, technical advice for optimizing information systems within the local government, and technical consultations related to government cloud (including for municipalities).          
Through the four initiatives, AWS will comprehensively support Niigata to accelerate innovation throughout the prefecture's enterprise and public, contributing to the revitalization of the local economy and regional development.     

Thriving startups help drive public sector innovation in Niigata Prefecture

Fuller, a Niigata-based startup, developed an application on AWS called "App Ape" that provides analysis of smartphone application usage to be used as market trend survey. Since its inception, Fuller has been fully leveraging AWS and has contributed to the promotion of regional industries and culture. Fuller has also developed a smartphone application to broadcast traditional local fireworks festivals to the nationwide audiences. They have also developed an application for companies that promote a Niigata headquartered outdoor brand company, thereby contributing to the revitalization of the region.

Information platform developer Water-cell which leverages AWS has been working to solve challenges in aging agriculture through its "Agri-Note" farming tool, which allows farmers to record, aggregate, and output various data, including crop yields and irrigation patterns to streamline their operations. The company also developed the "Agri-Note Rice Market", which matches rice transactions on the internet to improve sales. With technical support from AWS solution architects, Agri-Note is now used in more than 170,000 fields across Japan.

“Niigata Prefecture positions the promotion of entrepreneurship and business startups as a priority policy in order to realize 'Niigata as a prefecture of to be chosen'”, said Hideyo Hanazumi, governor of Niigata Prefecture. “We hope to see many new startups that will play a key role in revitalizing the prefecture's economy and local communities in the future. We believe that by leveraging AWS's latest cloud technology and a wide range of support programs, we will be able to further accelerate the growth of startups and digital talents in our prefecture, and we hope to create innovation through DX in our prefecture by working with AWS.”

 "AWS aims to create an environment where everyone can easily leverage digital technologies and data, promoting a positive cycle that enriches people’s lives through digitization,” said Tadao Nagasaki, president at Amazon Web Services Japan. “At AWS, we are very pleased to support Niigata Prefecture to digitally transform local industries, through the expansion of the startup community, the promotion of innovation in regional industries, and the cultivation of digital talent. We look forward to further strengthening our collaboration with Niigata Prefecture, helping them explore adoption of AI technology and accelerate digital transformation in Niigata Prefecture."  

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