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Singapore’s K-Start Up Centre launched

The K-Start up Centre (KSC) in Singapore, the first Korean start up centre in Southeast Asia, was officially launched today by South Korea’s Ministry of SMEs and Start ups (MSS). It reflects the strong interest among the Korean start ups to set up in Singapore to drive their internationalisation plans despite the uncertainties brought on by COVID-19.

The Singapore KSC is supported by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and will serve as a launchpad for Korean SMEs and start ups to plug into Singapore’s and the region’s start up and innovation ecosystem. The KSCs in Sweden and Finland were also launched at the same event.

Korea and Singapore SME’s benefit from collaboration

Mr Tan Soon Kim, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore said, “Amid the COVID-19 situation, the launch of KSC and its inaugural incubation programme help lay the foundation for closer collaboration between Singapore and Korean small enterprises.”

“Singapore’s startup ecosystem will benefit from the dynamic innovation and technology expertise that Korean startups and SMEs are renowned for. The KSC would also be able to plug Singapore SMEs and startups to other entrepreneurs within its network across borders to deepen collaborations with global players.”

ESG is also working closely with the Korea Institute of Start up and Entrepreneurship Development (KISED), an affiliate under the MSS, on start up activities that will use the KSC as an operations base to facilitate collaboration between both countries.

“Korean startups are using the pandemic as an opportunity to expand new business models and digital solutions domestically and they are now setting their sights to scale abroad. Korea’s New Southern Policy has been focused on generating opportunities for its businesses in ASEAN.”

“With Singapore’s connectivity, pro-business environment and renowned startup ecosystem, the Singapore KSC and incubation programme will accelerate Korean startups’ efforts to springboard into Asia,” added Ms Joy Moon, Programme Manager, KISED.

KSC to focus initially on FinTech and Cybersecurity

While the K-Startup Centre will work across the spectrum covering all areas, the inaugural incubation programme focuses on fintech and cybersecurity.

The Singapore KSC is expected to host its first batch of six start ups in October 2020 when they travel to Singapore for an eight-week incubation programme focusing on fintech and cybersecurity hosted by NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS). Close to a third of the 276 applications KISED received for its outbound incubation programmes this year chose Singapore.

In Singapore, participating start ups will receive valuable insights into the start up and innovation landscape, and regional markets. With opportunities to meet regional start up ecosystem players from investors to potential clients, participants can fine  tune their product positioning and go-to-market strategy, as well as making the right connections to succeed in Southeast Asia.


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