February 24, 2020

Ministry gears up to host tech forum for startups

PUBLISHED : November 06, 2019 - 17:41

UPDATED : November 06, 2019 - 18:02

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The Ministry of SMEs and Startups on Nov. 6 rolled out plans to host a two-day tech event later in November in its move to jumpstart a paradigm shift from the state-led coordination model in order to foster the global presence of domestic startups.

Dubbed “ComeUp 2019,” the event is poised to take place Nov. 28-29 at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul. Organizers comprising the government officials, startup entrepreneurs, investors and advisers say their maiden voyage could in the long run be to create what is equivalent to giant tech events like Web Summit in Lisbon and Slush in Helsinki.

“ComeUp 2019 will be different from previous state-led tech events here,” Cha Jung-hoon, a deputy minister of the Startups Ministry who formerly worked at Nvidia, told a press conference at Hanwha Dreamplus in Seoul.

Cha added the event’s organizing committee will act independently from the government as time goes by, while bringing in international entities from some 30 countries including the United States, Finland, Sweden and France to co-host sessions involving foreign players, by working with Korean government agencies.

Buttressed by this, the event will serve as a momentum for the Korean startup ecosystem to go global.

“The Ministry will continue to support the event, but will not interfere,” Cha said.

The first of its kind to be hosted by the Startups Ministry, the event will feature speeches, panel discussions and pitching competitions for startups devoted to various sectors: food technology, bio healthcare, edutech, beauty, mobility, entertainment, artificial intelligence and fintech. Networking opportunities also abound, according to the organizers.

Prior to the event, on Nov. 27, participants will be given a chance to go on a fam trip to visit shared working spaces in Seoul like Tips and Maru 180 and offices of unicorns here like Woowa Brothers and Yanolja.

In particular, startup accelerator FuturePlay CEO Ryu Jung-hee, a member of the organizing committee, said ComeUp 2019 will encourage participants’ engagement with speakers from at home and abroad who will judge the pitching competition for the same sector.

“Speakers of each session will come down to the floor as soon as their speech is over to interact with participants,” Ryu said in a press conference.

On Nov. 6, a private sector-heavy organizer committee held the final meeting, the eighth one over the past six months to decide the schedule. Organizers including the Startup Ministry, entrepreneurs and government agencies like the Korea Institute of Startups and Entrepreneurship Development, said they have laid the foundation for what is touted as the “annual, global event.”

The committee comprises 14 representatives of startups here such as entrepreneurs Kim Bong-jin; head of food delivery unicorn Woowa Brothers; Lee Seung-gun, chief of money transfer unicorn Viva Republica; investors including FuturePlay CEO Ryu and advisers such as Startup Alliance Managing Director Lim Jung-wook, as well as two government officials.

By Son Ji-hyoung (

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