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30 firms to be trained for globalization

Policymakers are set to start offering a support package for 30 promising medium-sized local enterprises from May, aiming to foster them as globally successful firms, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said on Sunday.

The plan, which involves the cultivation of administrative, research and marketing skills, is part of action plans for the roadmap unveiled by the government last March, dubbed “World Class 300 project.” Through it, the ministry pledged to groom 300 globally competitive mid-sized Korean firms by 2020.

The support package is intended to create an environment for them to develop new technologies, cut production costs, secure talented employees and tap new overseas markets, ministry officials said.

The package also entails providing tax breaks on their research and development spending, helping companies secure loans, and offering information on special funding programs planned by state-run firms.

Consulting services by industrial promotion agency Kiitech, the Korea Exchange and the Korea Intellectual Property Office will also be offered to them, according to the ministry.

“The project presents a new paradigm of fostering mid-sized firms. I think it will be able to stimulate their businesses and ultimately contribute to the country’s mutual growth drive,” said Park Chung-won, head of the ministry’s industrial development office.

Accomplishing co-prosperity between conglomerates and small and medium-sized firms has been a major goal of the current Lee Myung-bak administration, in line with its pursuit of a “fairer society.”

There have been constant concerns regarding the local economy’s heavy reliance on conglomerates involved in shipbuilding, steel and electronics. Experts have been calling for the need to nurture more prospective SMEs for the country’s sustainable future growth.

The ministry said it will name the 30 firms in late April after a thorough review of the applications by a committee consisting of experts from academia, industry and government.

Innovative, fast-growing manufacture firms with sales of 40 billion won-1 trillion won ($35 million-$900 billion) and software firms with sales of 10 billion won-1 trillion won are eligible to apply for the project, the ministry said.

Applying firms are required to submit a long-term growth plan which consists of the growth potential of the market, vision of the firm and their action plans to obtain the vision by March 31. Actions plans should include ways to expand market share, secure technology and make investments, ministry officials said.

By Koh Young-aah (youngaah@heraldcorp.com)
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