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Busan hosts Asia startup expo

Bill Aulet, managing director of Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship
Bill Aulet, managing director of Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship

The city of Busan is hosting an expo for startups in Asia from Tuesday through Thursday at Bexco, under the theme “Connect Asia, Fly to the World.”

The city government expects about 10,000 people engaged or interested in startups across Asia to attend Fly Asia 2022, consisting of conferences, an awards ceremony, exhibits and various opportunities for networking.

Organized by Busan Techno Park and the Busan Startup Agency Preparation Office, Fly Asia 2022 kicks off with an opening ceremony to be attended by key participants including Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Futurist Richard Yonck
Futurist Richard Yonck

Richard Yonck, futurist and author of the bestselling “Future Minds: The Rise of Intelligence, From the Big Bang to the End of the Universe,” and Ee Ling Lim, executive director at 500 Global, will deliver speeches on the first day of the conference.

Yonck, a well-known TED speaker and artificial intelligence expert, will speak about what the startup ecosystem could look like 10 to 20 years from now, and how creativity, discoveries, infrastructure and fundraising could support the future of startups.

About 20 officials from city governments in nine Asian countries will share their policies and model cases, and discuss ways to cooperate for favorable investment environments for startups and to help expand their global markets during the hourlong Fly Asia roundtable at Nurimaru APEC House from 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Koh Young-ha, president of the Korea Business Angels Association, and Bill Aulet, a professor of executive education at MIT Sloan, are to deliver speeches.

Aulet, author of “Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup” and managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, will speak about why there are so many MIT graduates at successful startups. He has written extensively about entrepreneurship for various media outlets, including the Boston Globe.

After working at IBM for 11 years, Aulet launched a series of startups, including 3D imaging company SensAble Technologies, which was praised by Fortune and the Wall Street Journal as a successful startup with innovative products.

During the main sessions, 27 speakers from various countries will discuss topics such as “environmental changes and crisis management strategies in the Asian startup ecosystem,” “during crises, what opportunities are Asia venture capitals looking for?” “a new wave of innovation created by Asian unicorns,” “the current status and development plans of startup ecosystem based on public technology” and “the current status of global corporate venture capitals and direction for major investments.”

There will also be two special sessions Tuesday where nine speakers will discuss topics such as “the future of the Asian startup ecosystem from the perspective of a global investor” and “the role of Asian female entrepreneurs in entering global markets.”

In a celebrity session on Wednesday, actor Cho Jin-woong, a native of Busan, will share how he overcame personal crises in his life, hoping to relate to people in their 20s and 30s.

On Tuesday, about 50 people from investment firms in Korea and abroad will discuss the challenges of startup investment in Asia at an Investor Leaders Forum.

On Wednesday, a founders and CEO forum will be held where founders of midsized businesses will share their know-how, following a ceremony where companies will announce their commitment to environmental, social and corporate governance.

At the Fly Asia Awards on Thursday, six startups will win a total of $180,000 in prize money. Some 178 startups applied for the Fly Asia Awards between Sept. 29 and Oct. 21, and 50 selected applicants from seven countries will take part in the semifinals and finals in Busan.

Other events, such as startup showcases, venture capital showcases, one-on-one meetups between investors and startups, as well as various networking programs, will also be held at Fly Asia 2022.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com) and Yoon Jung-hee (cgnhee@heraldcorp.com)

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