New creative economy center to help start-ups

2015-03-30 19:10

A new center for creative economy was launched on Monday in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, in a bid to nurture start-ups in the information technology industry.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, in partnership with the nation’s top telecom carrier KT, set up the Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy and Innovation, the eighth of its kind in Korea. This is in line with the government’s renewed commitment to fostering small and medium-sized firms and ventures across industries through collaborations with big businesses. 

KT chairman Hwang Chang-gyu (left) explains about a robotic spider based on Internet of Things technology to President Park Geun-hye at the newly opened Center for Creative Economy and Innovation in Gyeonggi Province on Monday. (Yonhap)

Boosted by KT, the center will focus, among other things, on nurturing promising firms in emerging IT sectors such as mobile games, the Internet of Things and finance technology.

Pangyo, dubbed the “Korean Silicon Valley,” is on the southern outskirts of Seoul where almost half the nation’s IT businesses, including NCSoft, AhnLab and Hancom, have offices or R&D centers.

“Pangyo will serve as a base camp for Korean SMEs and venture firms to make forays into global markets, and the center will support their global success,” said President Park Geun-hye in her congratulatory remarks at the five-story center’s opening ceremony.

Around 150 government officials, lawmakers, diplomats and businesspeople including Gyeonggi Province Gov. Nam Kyung-pil, KT chairman Hwang Chang-gyu and ICT Minister Choi Yang-hee attended the event.

Teaming up with global start-up accelerators and investors including U.K.-based Catapult, Spanish Wayra, and Formation 8 from the U.S., KT and the ministry will also run a series of support programs for smaller businesses to tap into global markets.

KT will help ventures and SMEs participate in global trade shows including the Mobile World Congress and the International CES and attract funding from foreign investors.

In order to support game developers, KT will operate the Game Software Lab within the center through which the network carrier will provide a wide range of software tools for graphics, sound effects and design for free.

On the fintech front, the company will work with seven domestic commercial banks, four credit card firms, and financial IT solutions companies to foster start-ups specialized in mobile security by providing mentoring services in addition to financial support and helping the SMEs get patents for their technologies.

KT, the ICT Ministry and other government agencies, including the Korea Technology Finance Corporation and the Korea Credit Guarantee Fund, will create a fund of 105 billion won ($94.9 million) for the initiative to promote start-up and venture businesses.

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