SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea will establish a 3.5 trillion won (US$2.9 billion) fund to nurture startups and venture firms in the science and technology sectors to secure new growth engines, the science ministry said Wednesday.
Under the comprehensive plan announced by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the fund will be floated to help young jobseekers launch 50,000 new startups. The ministry said it will partner with the Small and Medium Business Administration to nurture the fund that is aimed at bringing more investment and creating more jobs. The fund will focus on establishing infrastructure for basic science, new-growth sectors and assisting venture firms, the ministry added.
“The support measures were drawn up after understanding that a startup is a solution to creating more jobs and stimulating the economy amid the fourth industrial revolution,” Hong Nam-ki, vice-minister of ICT ministry, told reporters.
The ministry also plans to help local 500 startups advance to the global market.
“The ministry will work with other ministries to bring local startups global success and push forward with the support measures,” Hong said.
Also, the ministry said it will help international entrepreneurs from across the world pitch their business ideas in South Korea. Last year, the ministry hosted the accelerator program K-Startup Grand Challenge, the first of its kind, to help foreign startups to begin their businesses here.
The ministry has been making efforts to secure a new growth strategy to cope with the fast-paced industrial transformation, dubbed the fourth industrial revolution, that is characterized by various cutting-edge information technologies.
The ministry said it will continue to nurture startups at 17 “creative economy innovation centers” across the country. The main goal of the centers is to match up local startups and venture firms with conglomerates, which can provide resources to smaller companies so that they can turn creative ideas into real business opportunities. The centers have also provided various kinds of support to aspiring entrepreneurs both at home and abroad.
The government said it also extended a variety of tax incentives as part of its efforts to help small but innovative companies as the venture capital market in South Korea has been in the doldrums since the IT boom ended in the mid-2000s.