Photographic portrait of Yukiko Ito

Yukiko Ito

EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ Asia-Pacific Class of 2021

Founder, Representative Director and CEO, Zest, Japan

Yukiko Ito is the Founder and CEO of Zest, a company that automates schedule creation for busy medical care providers who make home visits to deliver patient care.

Zest's software services aim to maximize every individual’s talent. Through the automated schedule creation software, Yukiko aims to optimize the medical care providers’ time for home visits — in turn, reducing the human resource shortage she sees in the health care sector.

Yukiko started her career as a programmer and was the first Japanese female programmer at the software firm she joined. With an early focus on “solving problems no one else could,” she wanted to be actively involved in customer experience. But at the time, women weren’t allowed to speak with customers directly. So, she decided to work on her own, going on to establish Zest in 1988.

With Yukiko’s knowledge and expertise in programming, Zest has been delivering solutions that empower people to maximize their talent potential.

She won the Grand Prize & Aflac Award in the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) & Health 2.0 Japan 2019 pitch competition. And the company has won several awards — Healthcare Venture Knot 2019, HIMSS & Health 2.0 Japan 2019 and The Japan Startup Support Association (JSSA) Tokyo Award, to list a few. Zest was also one of 20 companies selected globally to join the start-up program 500 Kobe Accelerator in 2016.

Our vision is to solve “the 2025 problem,” which revolves around the shortage of human resources in medical care in 2025 — when all those born during 1947–1949 will turn 65 or older.
Yukiko Ito