EWU seeks to expand relationship with Japanese university


Atsushi Inoue and Dave Gorton with their class at Mie University. The students are participating in Eagle’s Nest Business Pitch Competition and placed first in the second qualifying round | Photo contributed by Dave Gorton in 2018

By Dylan Harris, Contributor

Two faculty members from EWU’s College of Business and Public Administration are making an impact on students both at home and abroad.  Dr. Atsushi Inoue and Dave Gorton have created what they hope to be an ongoing relationship with students and faculty from Mie University, which is located in Tsu, Japan.

Inoue and Gorton traveled to Mie University last December to conduct a seminar for a group of 14 graduate and undergraduate students.

The seminar, titled “From Idea to Pitch,” was constructed to give Mie students the opportunity to learn skills and techniques to better pitch their ideas for startup companies. The seminar was presented in both Japanese and English.

“The idea was originated between two professors, myself and my counterpart at Mie University,” Inoue said.

Inoue asked Gorton for help arranging the agreement with Mie University. Inoue and Gorton have a relationship going back years and both have experience working and traveling internationally.

The relationship is between EWU’s College of Business and Public Administration and the Mie University Graduate School of Regional Innovation Studies. Per the agreement made between the two schools, the purpose of the relationship is “to facilitate faculty, staff and student exchanges, foster joint research and educational activities and create joint lectures and symposia.” The agreement went into effect in October 2017.

“We are always looking for opportunities for more connections,” said Gorton. “Ultimately I’d like to take some Eastern students [to Mie University], and that’s no promise at this point, just a long-term goal.”

Inoue is a professor of analytics and management information systems and Gorton is a senior lecturer of MBA courses and the director of community outreach for EWU’s entrepreneurship program. Because Mie University doesn’t have a business school, Inoue and Gorton shared their business expertise with students who want to learn how to pitch ideas for new products, technology or businesses to potential investors.

In addition to the seminar, the Mie University students participated in a pitch contest for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to EWU to compete in the Eagle’s Nest Business Pitch Competition qualifying round. The winning team from Mie University pitched an idea for earbuds that produce light therapy in a person’s ears that is designed to help with depression, sleep deprivation and jet lag. They went on to place first in the qualifying round, and will return to EWU for the final competition on May 10.

Inoue and Gorton both expressed a desire to continue growing this relationship. They are in the process of planning more events and ways to connect the two schools and continue exchanging information, research and ideas. Gorton says Inoue and he will go back to teach the same seminar in August.

“We want this relationship to continue growing and most importantly become sustainable,” Inoue said.

The agreement between the two schools has been funded by a grant obtained by Mie University. This funding included all the travel costs for Inoue and Gorton.