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Bringing Start-up Alliance in the spotlight: a cluster organisation dedicated to boosting start-ups in Korea

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Korea is well-known for its big conglomerate such as Samsung, LG Group or Hyundai. Aside of these giants, start-ups are also blooming, supported by the Start up Alliance. This alliance was created in 2013 by Naver (the South Korean search portal) and the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning. Its goal is to invigorate the start-up ecosystem and help local start-ups to expand overseas.

To improve the start-up ecosystem, the start-up alliance works on different fronts to improve public perception, assist talent recruitments, ensure that public authorities are responsive to the start-ups needs, increase awareness on the Korean ecosystem and trigger the growth of a parallel venture capital investment ecosystem.

Their tools involve connecting venture capital to entrepreneurs, help the internationalisation of start-ups, organise weekly networking events and conference, and boot camps for entrepreneurs.

Thanks to the effort of the start-up alliance, the start-up ecosystem has widely improved in Korea. This improvement is mainly the result of increased investments. “Venture investment in start-ups has increased by 1 trillion won (about $937 million) since 2013, rising from 1.38 trillion to 2.38 trillion won ($1.3 to 2.2 billion) in just five years” explains Lim Jung-wook, managing director at Start-up Alliance, in an interview to Korea Exposé.

Beyond the sole impact on growth and jobs, start-ups are crucial to improve the innovation ecosystem. According to Lim Jung-wook: “Start-ups can help create occupational clusters and dynamic industries, because they’re responding to the changing demands of our economy. That’s why it’s important to have people challenging new things and creating new jobs as they build new companies. It challenges the companies and motivates them to do better.”

Along with the development of worldwide research hubs such as the LG Group research hub and the Songdo bio industry hub, Korea is suing cluster-like methods to boost its innovation ecosystem.

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