The Ministry of Small and Medium Venture Business, South Korea and the Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship (KISED) successfully organized the ‘K-ground program’ 2019, the event for networking startups and foreign companies to get experience in the Korean ecosystem. The event was held from September 23rd to October 2 at the Pangyo Techno Valley & Seoul TIPS TOWN. The co-organisers of the event were Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy & Innovation(GCCEI), Fintech Center Korea, KoreaDataAgency (Kdata) and Artificial Intelligence Industry Association (AIIA).
The platform for exchanging ideas & understanding the Korean startup ecosystem
The 10-day program was designed with goals to understand the Korean culture, entrepreneurship, market, investment ecosystem, visits and meetings of small and medium-sized startups, business meetings with domestic investors and accelerators, demonstration day, etc. Participants from various countries like Singapore, India, Netherlands, Spain, UK, Austria, Luxemburg, Denmark, Poland, Turkey, Australia, Thailand, Swiss, France, Vietnam attended the event.
There were 25 startups and 38 individuals from 15 countries at the K-Ground 2019 with interests in varied fields like IoT, ICT, FinTech, AI, Big Data, Cloud, Robotics, Smartcity, etc. The companies that attended the program have an interest in doing business in Korea and the Asian Market and are looking for collaboration and/or exchange information and ideas with other startups and Korean companies.
The event saw prominent speakers from the Korean startup ecosystem like the chairman of the Gyeonggi Creative Economy Innovation Center Lee Kyung-jun, Korea Fintech Support Center Chairman Yushin Jeong, Korea Data Industry Promotion Agency CEO Kiyoung Min, CEO, Deputy Manager of KISED Crystal Lee, Director General for Global Market Policy, Ministry of SMEs and Startups Roh Yong-seok, Deputy Manager of KISED Jaeeun Cho, Manager of NIPA Chelsea Han, Intelligent Information Industry Association Chairman Jang Hong-sung, The Ventures CEO Ho Chang-sung and SparkLabs CEO Eugene Kim.
On October 1, the 9th day of the program, K-Ground Demo Day was held in Tipstown. It was a chance for overseas companies and startups to talk about interest in the Korean market and their hopes of becoming a partner. Singapore startup Gnobe’s Stella jung, a partner of the microlearning platform, said, “We have been interested in the Korean market since launching the program in early 2019 with our distribution partner NetsFree. The goal is to make the leap by meeting strategic partners, distributors and investors.” Gnobe is a global startup with offices in Singapore, San Francisco, Dallas, and Manila, Philippines. The company now offers micro-learning platforms in 25 countries. Pedro Luis, CEO of Theia.pro, Denmark, said, “By participating in the program, we have gained insights on how to do digital business in Korea.”
Support for Overseas Startups for collaborations & expansion
Meanwhile, Kim Kwang-hyun, president of the Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Promotion, said, “We need to help domestic startups expand into unicorns and it is also important to globalize the Korean ecosystem by attracting innovative overseas startups to Korea. In the future, we will expand the role of K-ground around Korea Startup Center (KSC) to develop into a platform for Korea and other countries to grow together. ” “K-Ground could not have progressed without the participation of overseas embassies, representatives and specialized organizations in each technology field,” he added.
Also, the Small and Medium Venture Business Department and the Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development announced its plan to expand the role of K-Ground, starting with the Korea Startup Center (KSC) from 2020, a space for communication and collaboration between domestic startups and overseas innovators.
The center aims to develop an existing cooperative network with overseas missions in Korea to expand the channel of cooperation and resolve startup visas and housing issues and discover and implement cooperation projects between the two participating countries. It also plans to enable promising overseas startup companies discovered by KSC and its mission in Korea to act as a platform for market verification when entering into Korea.