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Korea-ASEAN startups to compete for sustainable development goals

By Song Jung-hyun

Published : July 19, 2023 - 14:59

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Winners of the 2022 Korea-ASEAN Business Model Competition for SDGs pose for a photo after the Demo Day event at a hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sept. 7. (Green Business Center) Winners of the 2022 Korea-ASEAN Business Model Competition for SDGs pose for a photo after the Demo Day event at a hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sept. 7. (Green Business Center)

South Korea’s SMEs and Startup Ministry and Indonesia’s Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry are set to co-host the fourth Korea-ASEAN Business Model Competition for SDGs 2023, which will run from August through October.

According to the organizing committee Wednesday, the annual competition, launched in 2020, aims to support the development of startups and SMEs from South Korea and Southeast Asian countries dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.

This year's competition, under the theme "Sustainability and Transition to Digital Economy,” is organized and sponsored by several renowned institutions including the ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center and ASEAN-ROK Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Center.

Submissions for the competition will be accepted on Aug. 1-31, with about 200 firms expected to join this year. The participants must be SMEs that have operated for less than seven years in Korea or Southeast Asia.

After two vigorous document screenings until mid-September, 10 companies will be selected to pitch business models in front of international judges and venture capital investors at a Demo Day event in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Oct. 31.

The finalists also will be given certificates from the organizers, networking and mentoring support from key industry leaders, and the opportunity to relocate to a co-working space at Green Business Center Jakarta for at least one year.

“Through this competition, startups and SMEs in Korea and ASEAN member states can secure opportunities to enter a global market which are based on the Sustainable Development Goals business model,” said Lee Seung-chan, secretary general of the ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center.

Last year, a total of 228 SMEs from Korea and 10 ASEAN companies participated. The winner was Plasticpay, an Indonesian waste management startup, with second place being TR Corporation, a Korean startup specializing in respiratory-related medical device development.