Revisiting the Creative Economy

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Earlier this year, South Korean President Park Geun-hye announced her vision of a “creative economy” to the world. This initiative intended to promote innovation and entrepreneurship with the objective of stimulating the nation’s economic growth.

To Park, spurring the growth of the “creative economy” meant allowing venture capitals to flourish by expanding support for startups and entrepreneurs.

“In this era, the future of an individual and even the entire country depends on innovation via creative ideas,” Park said at an event co-hosted by the Korean Educational Development Institute and the World Bank.

According to Asian Venture Capital Journal, South Korea’s tech industry received over $198 million in venture-capital investments this year, which is four times the amount the industry reached in 2012.

“Entrepreneurship is core to a creative economy and certainly essential to the continued success of any player in the global economy, especially South Korea,” said Eric Kim, managing director of Maverick Capital’s venture capital investments, to Forbes.

Tech giants in Silicon Valley like Google and Microsoft have noticed the growing potential of South Korea’s startups, and have been looking to expand their business relations with the East Asian nation. In August, Google announced its plans to establish a Google Campus in Seoul.

The achievements of Park’s initiative have also prompted the government’s continued promotion of the system. With the support of conglomerates like Samsung and Hyundai, the government plans to establish 17 creative economy centers across the country.

“In South Korea specifically, the government is actively investing resources to promote entrepreneurship, including direct investment into startups,” Kim said. “Concurrently, I think there needs to be a concerted effort to change the common perception that startups are not “prestigious enough” for young people to pursue, while emphasizing the reality that entrepreneurship is truly the lifeblood of South Korea’s future economy.”

Park’s administration has funded several programs supporting startups and small and mid-sized companies, one being the Tech Incubator Program for Startups (TIPS), a cooperative between the government and the private sector. TIPS facilitates the advancement of promising companies by combining investments, government research and development aid.

“We must make growth sustainable,” Park said. “We must make growth inclusive. But piecemeal fixes will not do. Macroeconomic policies or labor policies under existing paradigms alone will not do. The only way to solve these problems is to creatively innovate our way out.”

Park has recently supported major industrial actor Hyosung Group’s decision to foster 20 major start-ups in the carbon fiber sector within the next three years.

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