A Fast Pass into Korea

New cooperation agreements between ACE and three Korean agencies are paving the way for Singapore startups to accelerate entry into Korea, and vice versa.

In November 2017, the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), with support from IE Singapore, has signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Korea Institute of Start-up and Entrepreneurship Development (KISED), the Korean Business Angels Association (KBAA) and the Seoul Business Agency (SBA). The agreements will see the agencies working closely together to support and develop the startup ecosystems in their respective countries, and foster global enterprise between Singapore and Korea.

With this, Singapore-based startups can look forward to navigating Asia’s fourth-largest economy with greater ease and receiving one-stop support in their overseas expansion efforts. In turn, Korean startups will benefit from a helping hand in entering the Singapore market.

This follows the success of the ACE-Fukuoka City collaboration to promote Japan-Singapore bilateral technological and economic development, and comes just months after the ACE International Centre (ACEIC) was unveiled in September.

All signs point to a firm commitment to helping startups grow overseas.

Speaking on behalf of ACE, Executive Director Edmas Neo explains: “ACE recognises that it is important for our startups to venture overseas for new growth opportunities. As we speak to startups that are ready for internationalisation, we understand that their needs are for market knowledge, network and investment. The collaboration ACE has established with KISED, KBAA and SBA will help open doors for both Singapore and Korean startups in terms of network, market access and investment opportunities.”

While the Korean economy has been traditionally dominated by chaebols (large family-run conglomerates), this is changing, in part thanks to the country’s government-backed Creative Economy initiative. With a focus on nurturing startups and small businesses, and the ambition of becoming one of the world’s top seven startup accelerator nations, Korea is now home to a thriving startup scene.

“We see similarities in both countries in terms of Korea’s focus on fostering promising startups and Singapore’s Smart Nation initiatives,” noted Mr Jo Yeong-Soo, Director of KISED. “We are confident that through exchanges between startups from both countries, we will help build high-growth regional startups that will make Asia the startup destination of choice.”

Singapore-based startups that are keen to enter Korea can do so via the ACEIC’s Market Access Programme. The structured three-week programme focuses on equipping startups with business advisory and technology capabilities to enter the market, connecting them with relevant market players and investors, and sharing market research and insights with the aim of helping them succeed overseas. It is best suited for startups with a ready product or service, and that have already gained traction locally.

Apply for Membership