December 06, 2019

European nations pitch to attract Korean startups at EXIT Daejeon 2019

PUBLISHED : May 22, 2019 - 17:20

UPDATED : May 22, 2019 - 17:20

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European countries pitched to attract South Korean startups during an event held at the Global Startup Festival Daejeon 2019 on Wednesday.

During a sideline event called Startup Talk Concert with Foreign Embassies, officials from Finland, the Netherlands and Australia said their governments and private sector are putting a lot of efforts to nurture domestic and overseas startups. 

Christoph Heider, President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, answers questions during a session called Startup Talk Concert with Foreign Embassies at the Global Startup Festival Daejeon 2019 on Wednesday.
Park Ga-young/The Investor

“The Australian government is putting more emphasis on startups as the country shifts from coal and mining to renewable energy,” said Daniela Assis, trade adviser at Australian Trade and Investment Commission.

In line with that, Australia has introduced many grants and support programs, especially set up by local governments, according to Assis. She said that Korean startups specialized in technologies such as cybersecurity, fintech, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality would have good opportunities in the country.

Agnes Agterberg, second secretary of the Embassy of Netherlands in Korea, said her country is a gateway to Europe and the best market to test products for the European market as there are 170 million consumers within 500 kilometers. She also said the country is an attractive choice for startups as it provides more than 70 accelerators and incubators and more than 90 venture capital firms.

Finland, where the development of the startup ecosystem has not been led by the government but rather by students, offers startups an open and easy business environment with networks and creative entrepreneurs highly supportive of each other, according to Maria Kauko, an official of the Finish Embassy.

More importantly, Finland can be a place to try out new ideas because of its entrepreneurial environment that is not afraid of failures.

“Failures are totally ok. That’s because there is a very advanced social security net,” Kauko said.

Christoph Heider, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, also emphasized that the country should make a norm that failures could happen. “In S Korea, if you fail, if you fail, it has an impact on your social life.”

Heider added that the government should support startups, part of SMEs and an important pillar of economies both in Europe and Korea, but it should come in the form of deregulation so that companies can focus on exploring businesses that are not “disrupted” by administrative tasks. 

By Park Ga-young (

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