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[Herald Interview] SBA to guide digital transformation of small businesses

Agency stages online export opportunities through 4-day global trade event in Seoul

Kim Hyun-woo, CEO of Seoul Business Agency (Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald)
Kim Hyun-woo, CEO of Seoul Business Agency (Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald)
In times of digital transformation, bigger firms have the tools, technology and personnel for digital transformation, but smaller companies often lack the necessary resources. This is where the Seoul Business Agency steps in to support small- to medium-sized companies in the capital.

"Conglomerates or IT companies are undergoing digital transformation and making business opportunities out of it. SMEs are aware of the shift, but they are very busy with their daily workload," said Kim Hyun-woo, CEO of Seoul Business Agency, in an interview with The Korea Herald on Tuesday.

"There are not many SMEs that can prepare for digital transformation. So we are coming up with education programs and providing financial support for SMEs through consultation. In doing so, companies can realize how digital transformation can benefit them."

In order to help local SMEs that have suffered critical damage from the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA organized the 2021 Trade Week, a four-day global trade event that offers export opportunities for 300 local companies. The event began Tuesday.

"There always was a need for online exports among SMEs. The COVID-19 outbreak made it happen faster. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we preemptively tried to stage an event that can promote online exports for small companies to help them overcome the adversity," Kim said.

Trade Week set up over 1,200 online business consultation sessions for the participating SMEs and 500 foreign buyers from more than 20 countries. The participating companies work in the beauty, lifestyle, food, medical and quarantine, and IT and electronics sectors.

"The consultation sessions will practically help the companies, but I think the participants should also actively join the trade conferences where many people from various fields will share their perspectives on what the post-COVID-19 era will look like and how SMEs can cope with it better," he said.

On the sidelines of the online business consultations at Trade Week, the SBA invited experts from different professions for conferences and seminars to discuss global trade trends and strategies. Wednesday’s sessions featured Song Jae-hoon, director of Naver Live Commerce and Jin Ho, director of the digital transformation team at Lotte Home Shopping.

Trade Week also includes live commerce shows and launching events for new products. During the live commerce show, companies are given the opportunity to showcase their products for both domestic and overseas consumers as it will be streamed via LUVE, Naver Shopping Live and Taobao.

The global trade event is held at the FIC Convention Hall on Sebitseom island, southern Seoul. More information about the 2021 Trade Week is available on its official website.

By Kan Hyeong-woo (hwkan@heraldcorp.com)
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