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[2015] Mayor’s Speech

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  • Seoul as a Mentor, Giving Hope to Startups

  • SMG 896

    2015 Global Startup Conference

    Date April 21st, 2015 | Venue Multi-purpose Hall, Seoul City Hall

    It is a great pleasure to meet you. I am the mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon.

    I welcome and thank all of you for attending the 2015 Global Startup Conference. I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to President Myeong Seung-eun of Venture Square for holding the conference with Seoul, which will be a huge help for many startups that are dreaming of a global debut.

    Do you know what I did on the first day when I was reelected as the mayor of Seoul in July of last year? The very first thing the mayor must do after taking office is to emphasize by implication the objectives of the administration and focal projects during the upcoming term. I identified the center of the creative economy, where a new paradigm for the Seoul economy is being applied, especially Honghap Valley, where many young people are cultivating their dreams of startups. Now you might be able to tell where the goals and determination of the mayor of Seoul elected for the sixth term are placed: the creative economy and startups.

    In Honghap Valley, I heard stories about the lights and shadows that startups feel. That’s when I promised the young as well as myself to go anywhere I could to talk with young entrepreneurs to hear them out, and to think and grow with startups. I have listened to the voices in various fields through startup-related policy workshops and discussions, and I have contemplated with experts from all walks of life on what the Seoul Metropolitan Government should do first for startups.

    Silicon Valley in the US, Tel Aviv in Israel, and Helsinki in Finland are all regions where startups are growing impressively. When you look into the secrets of their success, they all have something in common: the solid foundations on which the young can easily try to establish startups with free and innovative minds have been established there. Our government is therefore actively building infrastructure with a deep concern for sharing and exchanging start-up information to establish an open culture and a sound ecosystem for startups.

    Creation Valley in Sinchon, Hongdae, and the Hapjeong area have spaces for networking and residency of startups to allow the young to easily share their ideas and start businesses. Digital Innovation Park, established at the site of Gaepo Foreigner School, provides IT startups with spaces where IT developers, new entrepreneurs, and students gather to communicate and cooperate all day.

    The Seoul Creative Economy Innovation Center, which is opening in Sang-am Digital Media City, will support startups in the areas of culture and content with high value added and ripple effects. The Creative Economy Knowledge Complex in Hongneung and the Startup Zone in Changdong, Sang-gye areas will be intensively fostered as hubs for startups and industry-leading bio and medical areas as well as high-tech industries based on smart technologies. Moreover, the Seoul Startup Hub will feature integrated windows of Seoul startups and a startup-friendly place for citizens in Gongdeok-dong, Mapo-gu. Once this infrastructure is completed, superb startups are expected to continue to be established all over Seoul.

    In addition to the establishment of infrastructure, Seoul is planning to prepare many opportunities for individuals related to various startups to exchange and build networks and to cooperate with domestic private investors to continue with Startup Investment Briefing Sessions to promote investment in distinguished startups in Seoul.

    For example, this coming July, Seoul will cooperate with Global Hackathon, the non-profit organization based in the United States, to host Global Hackathon Seoul to gather developers, designers, and planners from all over the world. It will be a great opportunity for domestic startups and IT developers to experience new things and establish global networks. Furthermore, by sharing innovative technologies and ideas and establishing partnerships in the ICT area, Seoul will raise its own status in the world.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government will do its best to make Seoul business-friendly and startup-friendly. We will achieve mutual growth by fostering competitive companies and creating good jobs. We will make more efforts to produce countless innovative entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Jack Ma.

    Distinguished guests, in the lobby of Bell Labs, a research and scientific development company in New Jersey, there is a saying engraved, “Leave the beaten track occasionally and dive into the woods. Every time you do so you will be certain to find something that you have never seen before.”

    Entrepreneurs and the young, go ahead and explore. Challenge yourselves. Seoul will be your mentor, a reliable backer. We will root for you and be right next to you, offering our support. I hope today’s 2015 Global Startup Conference will be a meaningful opportunity to share various startup cases and seek innovative startup support policies. I would like to thank all of you here again. Thank you very much.