Rakuten Social Accelerator
Rakuten Social Accelerator is a social innovation program that facilitates collaboration between external stakeholders and Rakuten employees. The program aims to improve society by leveraging Rakuten's technology, business and cultural assets.
About the Rakuten Social Accelerator Program
Launched in 2018, the Rakuten Social Accelerator program aims to drive positive social impact through collaborations with various stakeholders and Rakuten employees by making use of Rakuten's technology and assets.
Rakuten employees bring their experience, expertise and their “Rakuten Shugi” work culture to the project, while community partner organizations share information about social issues they are facing as well as their views on these issues, based on their values. Through cross-sector collaboration, Rakuten's corporate mission of empowering people and society through innovation is translated into action.
Activities in 2021
In 2021, for its fourth iteration, Rakuten Social Accelerator partnered with eight different organizations, with interactions taking place mainly online.
- Ryukyu frogs (Okinawa Prefecture, Japan)
“Ryukyu frogs” is an organization that provides students with unique career development programs and aims to "discover and foster young, global-minded innovators that can connect Okinawa with the world and can help realize Okinawa's sustainable and progressive economic independence.” Rakuten employees used their experience and knowledge of technology and business to provide advice to teams of students as they developed their business ideas pertaining to three topics: the disposal of okara (a waste product from bean curd), littering problems and English education in Japan. Output: supported five students in brushing up on their presentations for the Ryukyu frogs' LEAP DAY, a place to present the results of the talent development program for students in Okinawa.
- Oraga Otsuchi Dream Plaza (Iwate Prefecture, Japan)
Oraga Otsuchi Dream Plaza is the first organization established by the residents of Otsuchi Town after the Great East Japan Earthquake. It provides a place where people from outside the town can interact with the locals. In 2021, for its tenth anniversary, Rakuten employees provided advice on the planning and production of a commemorative booklet. The booklet contains information on the past and future goals of the organization through interviews with people who have been deeply involved in its activities. Online workshops in multiple languages were also held, discussing how to pass on the legacy of the Great East Japan Earthquake, with Rakuten employees sharing their feedback and ideas for the program’s improvement.
- NGO Shapla Neer: Citizens’ Committee in Japan for Overseas Support (Tokyo, Japan)
Shapla Neer is an international NGO established in 1972. Sutenai Life is an initiative that collects donations of items as part of its fundraising. The initiative collects postcards, stamps, monetary vouchers, books, CDs/DVDs, etc., and redeems them through specialized companies to fund Shapla Neer’s humanitarian activities in Bangladesh and Nepal. In order to expand the Stenai Life initiative, Shapla Neer conducted a trial of the "Stenai Life Partner" system, which invites companies and schools to become partners for item donation collection. Rakuten also collected donated postage stamps and postcards from its employees as part of this program and staff volunteered to sort them.
- Okayama NPO Center (Okayama Prefecture, Japan)
The Okayama NPO Center is an Okayama Prefecture-based organization that works with NPOs and a diverse range of stakeholders to provide frameworks and support for initiatives that go the extra mile in solving local issues and creating social value. To help the Okayama NPO Center in achieving its goal of no child left behind, Rakuten, together with NPOs in Okayama Prefecture that are tackling child poverty and abuse, collaborated on the construction of the matching database of a support scheme for parents and children.
- Maru Office General Incorporated Association (Miyagi Prefecture, Japan)
This organization in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture, was established in 2015 by local youth and youth who moved to the area after the Great East Japan Earthquake. In cooperation with local schools, the organization supports discovery-oriented learning opportunities for middle and high school students in Kesennuma. Through online mentoring sessions, Rakuten employees acted as support partners for high school students, helping them not only identify their personal interests, but also brush up their ideas and presentations for “My Project,” a program aimed at solving issues faced by local communities. Output: supported 55 students through Online Inquiry Lab, a place offering consultation for inquiry-based learning.
- NPO Dappi (Okayama Prefecture, Japan)
Dappi is an NPO in the field of education that aims to create a society where young people, from junior high school to post-secondary education, are free to live the life they choose, in close relationship with others. Its mission is to "cultivate and realize the potential of young people.” The online "Encyclopedia of Life" launched in 2020 by Dappi provides resources for middle school, high school and post-secondary students to learn about the diversity of the world and lifestyles, and gives them the opportunity to think about their careers. In this year’s program, Rakuten employees helped refresh the Encyclopedia of Life, and published Career News for high school students. Events were also planned and managed to support middle school, high school and post-secondary students in exploring their career options and diverse learning opportunities.
- Tatsugo Town (Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan)
Tatsugo Town is one of the municipalities that make up Amami Oshima Island, which was registered as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 2021. With its rich natural environment and its proximity to the central area of the island, Tatsugo Town has become a popular residential hub area for new residents of the island. The town nevertheless faces issues such as a declining birthrate, an aging population and an increasing number of vacant houses. Tatsugo Town considers attracting many people from outside of the island to live in the region to be an important initiative. As conveying local charms is key to this initiative, Rakuten employees worked on the planning and promotion of programs using e-bikes for the discovery of the relaxed lifestyle available on Amami Oshima Island.
- NPO Nakanosaku Project (Fukushima Prefecture, Japan)
The Nakanosaku Project is an NPO that works to renovate and repurpose vacant houses, as well as to improve community development activities in the Nakanosaku area of Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. This area was heavily damaged by the tsunami that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake. This year, Rakuten helped the organization strengthen its public relations and communications to expand their supporter base for activities. This was achieved by creating a video showing their projects over the ten years since establishment, and by revamping their online public relations strategy, including the redesign of their website and social media presence.