Humans of Waseda: Reon Hiruma

What does Potentialist stand for?

Potentialist means anyone with the potential to be part of the next innovation. It could be anything like a potential entrepreneur, potential artist or someone with a new idea in our community; and since I wanted to support them and maximize their potential, I started an online community called Potentialist.

Can you give us the back story of how you started this whole thing?

I wanted to know what an entrepreneur is, I had no idea about business or anything until like a year ago. I don’t remember the exact date, but up until I was in the second year of high school, I wanted to work at the United Nations. I always wanted to be in a place where I could provide an impact, a positive impact on society. So, I joined Waseda High School where I could learn English and French to add up to my language skills which I could use in my career in the future and I joined a number of United Nations programs that the school offered. One time while traveling, the person sitting next to me was a United Nations Officer and I talked to him about how it was like being an officer for United Nations and he told me about how it wasn’t that great and they did a lot of work but the progress was very slow. Chinese Private companies on other hand were more appreciated by the public and as private companies, their decision-making skills were faster which is when I realized maybe business is something I would want to do. But I had no idea about business so I started joining a lot of events and programs to learn more about entrepreneurship.

So basically, I wanted to start an online community for young individual and students like me who had new ideas and wanted to work together on different projects that could have an overall positive impact on the society.

Are there any entrepreneurs you look up to?

It is difficult to answer, there isn’t a particular one. I look up to a lot of entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. I read a lot of articles about them to know what they were thinking when they first started which inspires me or maybe challenges my way of perception.

Any message to the young entrepreneurs out there?

I don't think I can call myself an entrepreneur yet. I just started, but I want people to know that you can always start from a very young age because to start something--that is the initial step, the most important step actually, and be open to advice at all times.

All images provided by Reon Hiruma