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  • Seoul Aims to Become a Top 5 Global Startup City

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    Seoul plans to help daring individuals with innovative ideas and techniques to establish businesses, aid in continuing transfusion of new businesses, and help innovative businesses that are started in Seoul step out onto the world stage.

    To accomplish this, the city will offer mobilized support under its authority and capacity for an establishment’s whole life, which includes technical startup, early growth following establishment, and even global advancement. Seoul will focus on producing global businesses and innovative economic models to create a new growth engine to overcome a time of low growth.

    The city will prioritize the fostering of 10,000 innovative individuals, which includes talented individuals in the area of specialized technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and foreign entrepreneurs, who will take the lead in technical establishments and double the residential spaces of technical startups in AI and bio throughout Seoul to 2,200 to largely expand the new technology startup infrastructure.

    Based on such infrastructure, Seoul will aid businesses that succeed in their establishments to take a step further as a global business. Seoul will boldly invest in startups and early businesses experiencing difficulties in attracting private investors and offer a new total service from business evaluation to product design, prototype production, and connection with manufacturers so that innovative ideas can reach a manufacturable state in 180 days.

    With such strategically concentrated investments and support, Seoul presented seven projects with the announcement of evolving Seoul into becoming one of the top five startup cities around the globe.

    The aims is to invest approximately 1.9 trillion KRW (960 billion for municipal expenses, 680 billion for national expenses, 300 billion for private investments) in four years by 2022, expand the current seven unicorn companies (venture businesses with over 1 trillion KRW in valued business funds) to fifteen, and increase the weight of venture business sales, compared to total enterprise sales, to 7% (which was 3% as of 2017).

    The seven projects are: ① ‘Global Talented Individual Pipeline’ for fostering 10,000 talented individuals in technology, ② ‘Tech Space 1000,’ which will increase the number of technical startup spaces to 1,000, ③ ‘Strategic Growth Investment’ with funding support for 3,000 startups according to growth stage, ④ ‘Growth Promotion Platform’ that offers private leadership and public support, ⑤ ‘Productization 180’ for speedy commercialization of ideas, ⑥ ‘Testbed City Seoul,’ which demonstrates and pioneers a market for innovative, technological products, and ⑦ ‘Global Market,’ which will help 160 promising startups advance into overseas markets.

    < ① ‘Global Talented Individual Pipeline’ for fostering 10,000 talented individuals in technology>
    First, 6,400 individuals (1,600 annually) who specialize in technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be fostered based on six new industrial hubs in Hongneung (bio), Mapo (FinTech, blockchain), Gaepo and Yangjae (AI, big data, etc.).

    This project will also concentrate on attracting and fostering major global (foreigner) talents with aspirations in working at technological startups. The process of ‘technological startup preparation visas’ will be simplified for the issuance of visas within one week through cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, and a fast track program will be established for instant issuance of the ‘technological startup visa’ in case that a startup attracts over 100 million KRW in investment from VC (venture capital) or AC (accelerators).

    < ② ‘Tech Space 1000’ for an increase in the number of technical startup spaces to 1,000>
    A new residential space will be created for over 1,000 innovative businesses around new business hubs in Yangjae (AI), Hongneung (bio, medical treatment), and more. The number of residential businesses will be doubled from the current 1,043 to 2,200 in addition to a 2.4 increase in area from 200,000㎡ to 480,000㎡.
    < ③ ‘Strategic Growth Investment’ with fund support for 3,000 startups according to growth stage>
    Third, the city will strengthen early investment in the business start-up and productization stages, which are steps that determine the success or failure of a startup, to help these young companies successfully walk through their own ‘Death Valley’ and grow into unicorn companies.

    < ④ ‘Growth Promotion Platform’ that offers private leadership and public support>
    Fourth, Seoul will launch the ‘Startup Platform’ through which publicly-led startups will be open to private businesses and venture capitalists with expertise for private leadership and public support. In the second half of this year, the ‘Seoul Startup Hub’ will be open to global investors and accelerators who will initiate startup selection, investment attraction, global advancement, and the startup incubation program with plans to expand to Yangjae and Hongneung starting next year.
    ‘Private cooperative startup spaces and networks’ will also be expanded, which is the provision of spaces by private businesses while rent is provided by the city in support of startup expositions and programs like startup competitions.

    < ⑤ ‘Productization 180 Project’ for speedy commercialization of ideas into prototypes in 180 days >
    Fifth, the ‘Productization 180 Project’ that offers comprehensive support for completion of an innovative business idea into a prototype within 180 days will be put into operation.

    This is a method of operating a comprehensive window that unifies product manufacturing support that was once done at different prototype production centers, evaluates feasibility of new ideas (inspection for duplication of similar or same products, analysis and estimation of market demand, calculation of production costs), and goes through a suitable product design phase to produce new products at the technical Makerspace. In the product mass production step, a cooperative system will be constructed with domestic and overseas manufacturers for connections with optimal manufacturing enterprises.

    < ⑥ ‘Testbed City Seoul,’ which demonstrates and pioneers a market for innovative, technological products >
    Sixth, Seoul will become a testbed for innovative products for startups that struggle with the lack of outlets and opportunity for demonstrations after successful commercialization of innovative technologies. Opportunities for demonstrations will be offered to 500 innovative businesses by 2023 in addition to aid in technology development, commercialization, and marketing. Seoul will offer outlets for verified innovative products and services through public purchasing.

    < ⑦ ‘Global Market,’ which will help 160 promising startups advance into overseas markets >
    Seventh, Seoul will offer strategic support for advancement into foreign markets (Going-Global) in order for excellent, innovative startups in Seoul can pioneer the way for job creation and economic growth.

    State of Seoul Startup Support Facilities (as of March 2019)

    • Total of 44 facilities
      • ○ Startup nurturing institutions: 27
        • – Provision of startup residential space and education, commercialization support programs
          programs
          Institution Location Target Note
          Seoul Startup Hub 21, Baekbeom-ro 31-gil ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪All technology-based startups
          ▪Residents: 450
          ▪Scale: 23,659㎡
          ▪Opened: June 2017
          Seongsu IT Center 37, Seongsui-ro 22-gil ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪IT, IoT
          ▪Residents: 33
          ▪Scale: 9,909㎡
          ▪Opened: July 2011
          Seoul Global Startup Center 109, Cheongpa-ro ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Foreign residents, international students
          ▪Residents: 46
          ▪Scale: 2,737㎡
          ▪Opened: August 2016
          Seoul Startup Growth Center 5, Hwarang-ro 14-gil ▪Growing business
          ▪High-tech industry (bio, IT, etc.)
          ▪Residents: 20
          ▪Scale: 1,166㎡
          ▪Opened: September 2012
          Seoul Startup Didimteo 27, Dongil-ro 174-gil ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪All technology-based startups
          ▪Residents: 30
          ▪Scale: 2,547㎡
          ▪Opened: May 2014
          Youth Startup Dream Site 11-3, Yonsei-ro 2da-gil ▪Preparatory, early business ▪Residents: 8
          ▪Scale: 390㎡
          ▪Opened: November 2017
          Seoul App Business Center 31, Maebongsan-ro ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Internet, mobile app business
          ▪Residents: 35
          ▪Scale: 1,224㎡
          ▪Opened: April 2016
          Seoul Global Center 38, Jong-ro ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Foreign residents
          ▪Residents: 13
          ▪Scale: 711㎡
          ▪Opened: January 2008
          Gangnam Global Business Center 513, Yeongdong-daero ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Foreign residents
          ▪Residents: 3
          ▪Scale: 122㎡
          ▪Opened: May 2010
          Yangjae Innovation Hub 114, Taebong-ro ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪AI, deep-learning business
          ▪Residents: 12
          ▪Scale: 2,900㎡
          ▪Opened: December 2017
          Fintech Lab Seoul 21, Baekbeom-ro 31-gil ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪Finance, FinTech
          ▪Residents: 27
          ▪Scale: 592㎡
          ▪Opened: April 2018
          Seoul Biohub 117-3, Hoegi-ro ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪Bio, medical treatment
          ▪Residents: 5
          ▪Scale: 3,729㎡
          ▪Opened: October 2017
          Seoul Food Startup Center 932, Yangjae-daero ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪Agri-food industry
          ▪Residents: 22
          ▪Scale: 1,547㎡
          ▪Opened: December 2016
          Seoul High-Tech Venture Center 29, Gonghang-daero 61-gil ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪All technology-based startups
          ▪Residents: 39
          ▪Scale: 9,270㎡
          ▪Opened: September 1995
          DMC High Tech Industrial Complex 37, Maebongsan-ro ▪Early, growing business
          ▪IT, knowledge industry, R&D
          ▪Residents: 33
          ▪Scale: 77,190㎡
          ▪Opened: October 2008
          A-Center/R&D Center 37, Maebongsan-ro ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪All technology-based startups
          ▪Residents: 17
          ▪Scale: 1,086㎡
          ▪Opened: September 2016
          A Center Gangnam Branch 157-27, Samseong-dong ▪Early, growing business ▪Residents: 10
          ▪Scale: 1,369㎡
          ▪Opened: March 2018
          Seoul Game Contents Center 330, Seongam-ro ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪Gaming business
          ▪Residents: 18
          ▪Scale: 1,978㎡
          ▪Opened: December 2009
          Seoul Animation Center 126, Sapo-ro ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪Animation business
          ▪Residents: 9
          ▪Scale: 7,080㎡
          ▪Opened: May 1999
          DMC
          Startup Center
          330, Seongam-ro ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Design business
          ▪Residents: 45
          ▪Scale: 3,531㎡
          ▪Opened: October 2008
          Seoul Fashion Creative Studio 43, Eulji-ro 45-gil ▪Preparatory, early, growing business
          ▪Fashion design
          ▪Residents: 34
          ▪Scale: 2,330㎡
          ▪Opened: December 2009
          Women Enterprise Supporting Center 36, Achasan-ro 30-gil ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Female business
          ▪Residents: 30
          ▪Scale: 388㎡
          ▪Opened: April 2009
          Women Enterprise Supporting Center Within Dogok Subway Station ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Female business
          ▪Residents: 15
          ▪Scale: 743㎡
          ▪Opened: April 2013
          Women Enterprise Supporting Center 23, Doksan-ro 50-gil ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Female business
          ▪Residents: 18
          ▪Scale: 1,200㎡
          ▪Opened: March 2002
          Women Enterprise Supporting Center 50, Dongil-ro 207-gil ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Female business
          ▪Residents: 22
          ▪Scale: 810㎡
          ▪Opened: October 2011
          Women Enterprise Supporting Center 17, Tojeong-ro 35-gil ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Female business
          ▪Residents: 17
          ▪Scale: 362㎡
          ▪Opened: January 2011
          Seoul Woman Craft Center 27, Dongil-ro 174-gil ▪Preparatory, early business
          ▪Female business
          ▪Residents: 52
          ▪Scale: 5,723㎡
          ▪Opened: May 2017
      • ○ Startup information exchange space: 10
        • – Main functions: startup counseling, personal network construction, startup information and education
          ain functions
          Institution Location Note
          Start-up Cafe Soongsil Univ. Branch Within Soongsil Univ. Subway Station ▪Scale: 116㎡
          ▪Opened: January 2016
          Start-up Café Hongdae Branch 50, Yonsei-ro, pedestrian underpass ▪Scale: 223㎡
          ▪Opened: March 2016
          Start-up Café Sinchon Branch 122-6 Dongsung-gil ▪Scale: 132㎡
          ▪Opened: July 2016
          Start-up Café Daehak-ro Branch 77, World Cup buk-ro 4-gil ▪Scale: 332㎡
          ▪Opened: March 2017
          Start-up Café Chungmu-ro Branch 8-8, Chungmuro 5(o)-ga ▪Scale: 297㎡
          ▪Opened: April 2018
          Start-up Café Bulgwang Branch 9-31, Daejo-dong ▪Scale: 188㎡
          ▪Opened: August 2018
          Start-up Café Cheonho Branch 1057, Cheonho-daero, 2F ▪Scale: 315㎡
          ▪Opened: September 2018
          Dongdaemun Global Center 146, Mareunnae-ro ▪Scale: 230㎡
          ▪Opened: October 2015
          Fintech Academy Korea Institute of Financial Investment, 6F ▪Scale: 1,447㎡
          ▪Opened: February 21, 2018
          Seobu Women’s Growth Center 371, Nambusunhwan-ro ▪Scale: 308㎡
          ▪Opened: December 2002
      • ○ Prototype production center: 7
        • – Main function: Provision of equipment and space for prototype production, education, product manufacturing service
          Main function
          Institution Location Note
          Digital Blacksmith Yongsan-gu
          (83, Cheongpa-ro, Wonhyo Mall 2F)
          ▪Scale: 576㎡
          ▪Opened: May 2016
          Seongsu Maker Space
          (in Seongsu IT Center)
          Seongdong-gu
          (37, Seongsui-ro 22-gil)
          ▪Scale: 328㎡
          ▪Opened: September 2015
          Sang Sang Factory
          (In Gaepo Digital Innovation Park)
          Gangnam-gu
          (416, Gaepo-ro)
          ▪Scale: 685㎡
          ▪Opened: November 2016
          Seongbuk Prototype Factory Seongbuk-gu
          (227-199, 200, Jeongneung-dong)
          ▪Scale: 87㎡
          ▪Opened: May 2017
          Maker Park
          (in Seoul Innovation Park)
          Eunpyeong-gu
          (684, Tongil-ro)
          ▪Scale: 661㎡
          ▪Opened: June 2016
          IoT Incubation Center Guro-gu
          (72, Digital-ro 26-gil)
          ▪Scale: 1,018㎡
          ▪Opened: February 2017
          Sewoon Makers’ Cube Jongno-gu
          (159, Cheonggyecheon-ro)
          ▪Scale: 716㎡
          ▪Opened: September 2017