- About FreeWill-FreeSpace
- What is the purpose of FreeWill-FreeSpace?
- Why should I choose FreeWill-FreeSpace?
- What is an incubator? What is the difference between an incubator and an accelerator?
- What is GDI Communications and how is it related to FreeWill-FreeSpace?
- Does my project have to take place in Japan?
- Are there any restrictions for the project topic?
- Does my project have to be a new business?
- Where can I work on my project?
- After being accepted, how long am I allowed to use FreeWill-FreeSpace?
- Do I have to share ownership of my project?
- Can I work for FreeWill-FreeSpace?
- Who are the mentors of FreeWill-FreeSpace?
- How much access do I have to the mentors?
- If I join GDI Communications, will I still be able to work on my project?
- What is the next step after FreeWill-FreeSpace agrees to fund my project?
- Everything sounds too good to be true, what's the catch？
- Application process
- Who can apply?
- Do I need to pay to participate in FreeWill-FreeSpace?
- Is there an application deadline?
- Do I have to be a certain age to apply?
- Do I need to be fluent in both English and Japanese to apply?
- Can I apply if I do not live in Tokyo?
- Can I apply even if I have been sponsored by a different incubator in the past?
- Can I use FreeWill-FreeSpace while employed at another company?
- Can I apply if one of my team members works for another company?
- How long will it take to hear back about my application?
- Getting started
- What are the benefits of FreeWill-FreeSpace for startups?
- What benefits ARE NOT available to startups?
- How do I know if I need to use FreeWill-FreeSpace?
- As a startup, how exactly can I work together with your engineers?
- Can I still work with your engineers even if I don’t have money to pay immediately?
1. About FreeWill-FreeSpace
What is the purpose of FreeWill-FreeSpace?
The purpose of FreeWill-FreeSpace is to provide an environment where people can turn their ideas into reality.
It is a space where people can take a risk and follow their dreams without being weighed down by the what-ifs of failure.
Why should I choose FreeWill-FreeSpace?
Freewill-Freespace provides the opportunity to break away from the expectations of mainstream society and follow your own path.
Freewill-Freespace provides an environment that allows you to take a risk with minimal consequences in case of failure.
What is an incubator? What is the difference between an incubator and an accelerator?
Both incubators and accelerators are dedicated to helping startups and provided amenities such as workspace with cheap rent and WiFi, business mentoring, networking opportunities, accounting and financial advice, etc.
However, incubators are companies, while accelerators are time-limited programs.
What is GDI Communications and how is it related to FreeWill-FreeSpace?
GDI Communications is a company that specializes in the training of global persons and the provision of high-grade IT services.
Freewill-Freespace was established by GDI Communications’ CSO/COO Toshi Asaba to encourage people to follow their dreams, to break free of the suppression of social hierarchy and become their own boss.
Does my project have to take place in Japan?
No. Your project can take place anywhere in the world and can address any problem.
Are there any restrictions for the project topic?
No. Your project can address any problem.
Does my project have to be a new business?
No, your project can be anything from a software or smart phone application to founding an NGO.
Where can I work on my project?
You can work on your project from your home, or you can use GDI Communications’ office in Aoyama, Tokyo as your workspace. Let us know what works best for you.
After being accepted, how long am I allowed to use FreeWill-FreeSpace?
There is no particular limit for how long you can use FreeWill-FreeSpace.
However, you should include an estimate in your executive summary and business plan of how long it will take to finish your project.
Do I have to share ownership of my project?
In order to ensure that our resources are not being used dishonestly or irresponsibly, we ask for a mere 0.01%.
However you retain 99.99% ownership. We want you to build the project of your dreams.
Can I work for FreeWill-FreeSpace?
Freewill-Freespace is a service sponsored by GDI Communications.
Thus, if you are interested in working for FreeWill-FreeSpace, you will need to join the GDI Communications team.
Look for GDI Communications on Wantedly to apply
Who are the mentors of FreeWill-FreeSpace?
The mentors that will be working with you on your project are none other than GDI Communication’s own IT specialists and engineers.
How much access do I have to the mentors?
If a mentor decides to join your project, it is up to you to negotiate the schedule and work hours.
If I join GDI Communications, will I still be able to work on my project?
Yes. If you decide to join GDI Communications, you are more than welcome to continue working on your project in your free time.
What is the next step after FreeWill-FreeSpace agrees to fund my project?
After presenting your idea at our general assembly, the next thing to do is to get started!
After being approved by Freewill-Freespace, you can begin putting your business plan into action.
Everything sounds too good to be true, what's the catch？
There is no catch. Our dream is to help you achieve yours!
2. About the application process
Who can apply?
FreeWill-FreeSpace is meant to assist students, existing startups, and people looking to cultivate their entrepreneurial spirit (new startups).
Do I need to pay to participate in FreeWill-FreeSpace?
No, you do not need to pay in order to participate in Freewill-Freespace.
However, in your business plan you must explain how you plan to repay us once your project is complete.
You can choose to give us a portion of your shares (% is up to you), hire us as a client for your new business, or even pay us a lump sum of an amount of your choice. It is all up to you.
Is there an application deadline?
There is no deadline. You can apply to Freewill-Freespace at anytime.
Do I have to be a certain age to apply?
No. People of all ages are welcome to apply to Freewill-Freespace.
Do I need to be fluent in both English and Japanese to apply?
If we agree to sponsor your project, you will be asked to present your idea to our engineers at our general assembly. Thus, we ask that you be able to speak at least conversational level Japanese.
As for English, if you aiming for an international project, English skills are essential.
However, you have time to improve your English abilities after starting your project.
Can I apply if I do not live in Tokyo?
Yes. You can apply to Freewill-Freespace from outside of Tokyo, even from outside of Japan.
There is no restriction to your location as long as you are available for video conferencing to discuss the details and progress of your project.
Can I apply even if I have been sponsored by a different incubator in the past?
Yes. Freewill-Freespace does not consider your project history in our decision making.
Can I use FreeWill-FreeSpace while employed at another company?
Only if you are working at a startup company is it possible to use Freewill-Freespace simultaneously. Otherwise, you must first become an employee at GDI Communications in order to use Freewill-Freespace.
Can I apply if one of my team members works for another company?
As long as the owner/leader of the project is not working for another company it is acceptable.
How long will it take to hear back about my application?
After submitting your application to us by email, you should hear back from us within one week.
3. Getting started
How much money will I get to start my project?
Freewill-Freespace does not provide our participants a financial budget. However, we do offer opportunities to introduce you to potential investors.
Is there a required amount of hours that I have to spend working on my project?
There is no minimum or maximum number of hours that you are required to spend on your project.
It’s your project, so YOU make the schedule. However, we do recommend that you try to follow the timeline outlined in your business plan.
4. Start up
What are the benefits of FreeWill-FreeSpace for startups?
Though the benefits are essentially the same as with other applicants, startups are given priority when we assign engineers and mentors to your project.
Startups also have access to higher level investors and connections.
What benefits ARE NOT available to startups?
Unfortunately, Freewill-Freespace does not offer free work space for existing startups. We are also less likely to provide financial support if you are a startup.
How do I know if I need to use FreeWill-FreeSpace?
For example, say that your company is considering developing a web application.
You already have a front-end developer and a designer, but you need someone with knowledge of databases.
In that case, Freewill-Freespace is perfect for you. Our engineers possess knowledge and experience in technologies such as AWS, SQL, PHP, JAVA, Excel VBA, Linux, and many many more.
As a startup, how exactly can I work together with your engineers?
As a startup, there are several different ways in which you can work with our engineers.
For example, if you are working on a project that only requires a few hours of collaboration a week, you can arrange for the engineer to meet with you for a few hours a day.
Or, if you are looking for someone to work with you full time, it is also possible to work with you as a temporary employee until the project is complete (long-term projects are also possible).
Can I still work with your engineers even if I don’t have money to pay immediately?
Yes. Payment terms are negotiable.
It is completely possible to hire our engineers now and pay later, after your project turns a profit.
Remember, the payment method is all up to you. You can choose to give us a portion of your shares (% is up to you), hire us as a client for your new business, or even pay us a lump sum of an amount of your choice. It is all up to you.