South Korea is Rising as a New Startup Hub

South Korea is emerging as a new hub for startups. Large corporations like SK, NHN, and Samsung are investing in IT educational programs for the potential entrepreneurs, and the government are also helping to organize startup events to motivate college students to start their own startups.

Naver, the leading search engine in Korea, is planning to start a graduate program that focuses on software engineering. In March 2013, Naver already started a software HR development program call NEXT. Naver announced that it plans to invest $100 billion over 10-years. Samsung Electronics also has been running a program called Software Membership since 1991, which runs in nine regional centers in Korea. In Shik Bae, the developer of GOM player and Soo Jung Park, the CEO of Joom Internet are some of the few who have completed this program. SK Planet is another corporate that runs an IT education program, T academy, which started in 2010 and have created 53 successful new startups. These programs are to support the future entrepreneurs in South Korea.

Leveraging corporates’ active support on startups, the government is also helping to organize startup events. At the end of November, over 2,000 entrepreneurs from all over the world will visit Korea for Startup Nations Summit 2014. This conference is sponsored by Startup Nations members, and South Korea became the third Asia-Pacific country that will hold the event followed by Canada and Malaysia.

One of the reasons for recent startup boom in South Korea is the number of successful M&As. The number of acquisitions is increasing in South Korea, which also motivates angel CEOs and venture capitalists to invest more in startups. This creates a positive cycle, which led to more entrepreneurial activities.

Young Ha Go, the CEO of Korea Angel Investment commented that “through a number of successful startup stories, the society should motivate young brains to launch startups and create a positive algorism for continuous investments.”


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