Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is also a hub for the startup community. The city is a base for nearly 60% of startups in the country. So it becomes important for the government to ensure that Seoul has a sustainable and progressive environment for startups. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been working to invest in building a robust startup ecosystem in Seoul. SBA or Seoul Business agency is a business support institution for SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) in Seoul, run by the Seoul metropolitan government. SBA was established to promote and develop industries and to provide comprehensive and systematic support to SMEs located in Seoul.
What is SBA?
SBA’s primary focus is to help the Small and Medium Entreprises and the startups in the country. The agency has its history traced to 1998 when it was launched as a foundation and then named Seoul Business Agency officially in 2005. SBA is responsible for providing a variety of public services such as support for startups (including the business of foreign residents in Seoul through Seoul Global Center), R&D, intellectual property, development of market outlet for small businesses, overseas export, SETEC (Trade exhibition for SMEs) and so forth. These services aim to help SMEs increase their market competitiveness.
Furthermore, SBA strives to create and activate industrial clusters such as DMC and G Valley and is actively participating in fostering aspiring future industries such as cultural content industries (web cartoon, animation, game,etc.), and IT and IoT related industries.
SBA is dedicated to the advancement of the economy of Seoul through strategic industry development plans and SMEs support.
Role of SBA in the startup ecosystem
SBA plays a significant role in supporting local startups and also giving international startups space to do business in the country. The main things that SBA does for startups are:
1) Foster Global Startups: SBA provides space and care services in Seoul to budding startups with establishments like the Seoul Startup Hub, Accelerating Center, and Seoul Corporate Center. These spaces offer startups places to work on and develop ideas, network with mentors, funders, and get a competitive insight into the markets. Seoul Startup Hub provides facilities like product support center, kitchen incubator, broadcasting station, and networking space. The Accelerating Center and the Seoul Corporate center acts as a connecting link for startups to network with successful companies, investors, and understand the competitive corporate environment.
2) Startup Space Support: Every startup needs a space to establish its presence, and SBA helps them with a number of places in the city. SBA provides space for all types of startups content, food tech, FinTech, IT, E-commerce, etc. Seoul Startup Hub, The Accelerating Center, Seongsu IT Center, SBA Industry Center DMC, and SBA Advanced Center DMC are some of the prominent spaces under the SBA.
3) Foreign Business Support: Seoul Global Business Center and Foreign Trade Business Center run by the SBA helps the startups aspiring to expand internationally. The centers aid the startups in procuring foreign talents, counseling about foreign investments, networking events with foreign investors. The spaces are also used by foreign investors and startups, who are keen to set businesses in South Korea.