August 3, 2018
  • Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten Launches “Rakuten IT School NEXT” Sustainability Program

Rakuten to collaborate with high school students and members of local communities to solve local issues through the use of Rakuten services and technology

Tokyo, August 3, 2018 – Rakuten, Inc. today announced the launch of “Rakuten IT School NEXT,” a new program that aims to work with high school students and members of local communities to solve local issues. The program was launched today at 10 schools across the country.

In the Rakuten IT School NEXT program, 137 students at 10 schools throughout Japan will work with 45 Rakuten employees and members of the local community to propose solutions to local issues, leveraging the services and technologies offered by Rakuten. Starting today, a three-day workshop will be held at each of the schools, in which Rakuten employees will serve as facilitators, as teams of high school students create draft proposals to solve local issues based on interviews with members of their local community. The student teams will then hold a number of remote discussions with the Rakuten employees to further refine their proposals, and then make a presentation at their high school in November. Each high school will then select a representative team to present their results at an event planned for December in Tokyo.

Based on its corporate philosophy of “contributing to society by creating value through innovation and entrepreneurship,” Rakuten has carried out a number of sustainability and CSR activities to date, including the original Rakuten IT School , a pro bono program(*1) that provides practical lessons to high school students on internet business. Rakuten is also currently focusing on programs that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)(*2) set forth by the United Nations, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, and the Rakuten IT School NEXT program is one aspect of that drive.

Going forward, Rakuten will continue sharing the possibilities presented by technology to resolve social issues to members of the next generation, who will become the future leaders of their local communities, and utilize the vast expertise of the Rakuten Group to realize a more sustainable world.

(*1) A pro bono program that provides practical lessons in internet business to high school students in collaboration with merchants on Rakuten Ichiba and hotels and other facilities on Rakuten Travel, implemented as one aspect of Rakuten’s sustainability and CSR activities. Started in 2008, the program operated for 10 years, with 6,955 students graduating from the program at 245 schools. Rakuten IT School NEXT will carry on the goal of fostering the next generation, who will serve as future leaders of their local communities, while also formulating proposals to solve issues utilizing Rakuten services and technologies.

(*2)The concrete goals established within the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” adopted by the United Nations Summit in September 2015. The Rakuten IT School NEXT program is being promoted as a measure to contribute to the following goals among the 17 SDGs: 4. Quality education; 10. Reduced inequalities; 11. Sustainable cities and communities; and 17. Partnerships for the goals.

For more information on Rakuten and the SDGs:

Participating high schools and project themes
- Iwate Prefectural Mizusawa Commercial High School:  Creating a better environment for raising children
- Fukushima Prefectural Futaba Future School:  Revitalizing Futaba District
- Gifu Prefectural Hida Kamioka High School:  Promoting the appeal of depopulated regions
- Shizuoka Prefectural Fugakukan High School:  Creating the "Fujinomiya" Brand
- Aichi Prefectural Nanyo Senior High School:  Fair Trade Town Nagoya
- Wakayama Prefectural Wakayama Commercial High School:  The Nankai Trough Earthquake
- Hiroshima Prefectural Onomichi Commercial High School:  Inbound tourism
- Hiroshima Prefectural Yuki High School:  Abandoned agricultural land
- Kochi Prefectural Susaki High School:  The aging population and local communities
- Kumamoto Prefectural Kumamoto Commercial High School:  Recovering from the Kumamoto Earthquake

Annual schedule
August 3 – August 5: Workshop (Held at each school)
Early November:  School presentations (Held at each school)
December 8: Final result presentation (Planned to be held at the Rakuten Crimson House)

Project page

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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