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KT, SKT tie up with small firms to tap global market

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Published : 2014-06-16 21:17
Updated : 2014-06-16 21:17

Korea’s leading mobile carriers are ramping up efforts to nurture startups and help them gain a foothold in the global market. KT Corp., Korea’s largest telecom company, said Monday that it would run a startup nurturing program, called “Startup Nomad,” in collaboration with VentureSquare, a leading Korean startup accelerator.

A total of eight teams will be selected for the program and given a variety of support to begin a business at home and abroad. The support includes seed capital of 20 million won ($19,600) and mentoring services from market experts.

KT will also provide the new entrepreneurs with an opportunity to take short-term business courses at Draper University and Macrovia Partners, a business development firm, in Silicon Valley. 
KT officials pose at the firm’s startup incubation center, called Econovation, in Seoul on Monday. (KT)

The participants of KT’s program will be able to open offices at the telecom company’s startup incubation center in Seoul.

“KT hopes that the startups will be able to take a leading role in spreading Korean entrepreneurship around the world,” Park Hyo-il, vice president of KT’s data service business unit.

SK Telecom, the largest mobile network operator in Korea, has been running its own entrepreneurship programs since last year in line with the Korean government’s initiatives for co-prosperity among small and big businesses, and the program has already started to bear some results.

The small businesses from the startup program attracted a great deal of attention for their products during the 2014 GSMA Mobile Asia Expo, the largest Asian mobile trade show held in China last week.

Their products include Petfit, a smart collar for pets, and Big Note, an information technology solution which transforms computer monitors or TVs into smart boards.

During the exhibition the mobile carrier inked a deal with Chinese domestic robot maker JSD to supply 30,000 units of smart educational robot Albert.

Last April, the Korean company also signed a contract with WanChang Group, a China-based distributor of IT products, to supply 10,000 units of Smart Beam, an ultra-mini projector for smartphones, according to SK Telecom.

The robot and projector were co-developed by the mobile carrier and small Korean firms.

“By collaborating with small partners, SK Telecom can swiftly respond to market changes,” an SK Telecom official said.

“SK Telecom will continue to help those small partners introduce their products to global markets,” he added.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)

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