Photo courtesy National Governors Association.

Gov. Larry Hogan has announced that Japan’s Kanagawa Science Park business incubator will become the latest partner of Maryland’s Global Gateway Initiative, a first-of-its-kind program that offers international businesses a soft landing by connecting them with local accelerators and incubators.

Kanagawa Science Park becomes the second partner to join the initiative during Governor Hogan’s economic development mission to Asia following the addition of the Korean Small and Medium Enterprises and Startups Agency, or KOTRA, last week.

“We understand that one of the biggest barriers to Japanese companies looking to enter the U.S. market is the time and cost of setting up an office and hiring staff without really knowing if that’s the right market for them,” said Hogan. “So in Maryland, we’ve made it easy — taking away both the expense and the risk by letting these companies explore Maryland on a trial basis. When we launched this, we were very interested in identifying an elite Japanese partner, and we are thrilled that Kanagawa Science Park has taken the leap to join this initiative.”

As a Global Gateway partner, Kanagawa Science Park, which is a short drive from Tokyo, will work to promote Maryland as an investment destination for Japanese companies interested in the U.S. market. Earlier this year, the governor announced an initial investment of $2 million for the initiative, which currently includes the participation of more than 20 Maryland accelerators and incubators.

Through its investments, business school, and business services, Kanagawa Science Park supports Japan’s new industry model by investing with its original fund and business school, as well as business matching services. On average, more than $4 billion in commercial transactions take place annually between Maryland and Japan, which is one of Maryland’s top international trading partner.