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Sales of state-sponsored Korean startups up 40% in 2022

According to The Korea Economic Daily Global Edition,

South Korean startups sponsored by the government’s information and communication technology acceleration program, dubbed K-Global Project, saw their combined sales and investments rise about 40% and 16% on-year last year, respectively, according to the government report.

The Ministry of Science and ICT announced on Thursday that the total sales of 608 startups awarded with state aid under the K-Global Project program in 2022 jumped 39.9% on-year to 808.8 billion won ($616.2 million), 6.7% of which was from overseas operations. Sales of more than two-thirds of the participants increased.

They also garnered 547.7 billion won in total investment last year, 16.2% higher than the previous year. The number of startups succeeding in attracting investment was 186, and the total funds from overseas investors amounted to 25.3 billion won, accounting for 4.6% of the total investment.

The total number of patents applied by these startups last year was 1,699, up 21.6% against the prior year, and of which 483 patents, or 28.4%, were applied in foreign countries.

Wrtn Technologies Inc., Stayfolio Inc. and CONTEC were among those receiving state aid under the startup accelerator program.

On the same day, Science Minister Lee Jong-ho pledged bolder investment in the country’s tech startups, heralding the announcement of the government’s detailed plan to foster the country’s science and technology-oriented startups soon.

“It is important to turn innovative technologies from labs into sustainable businesses, which will pave the way for more innovations necessary for national growth,” Lee told entrepreneurs attending a tech startup forum on Thursday held at CHANGeUP GROUND, a startup incubation center run by POSCO Holdings Inc.

Early in January, the science and ICT ministry pledged 494.7 billion won worth of investment in tech startups and to commercialize their technologies. This was part of the government’s commitment of 2.52 trillion won investment in tech startups under the deep-tech unicorn scaleup R&D investment plan.

Deep tech refers to a startup with a business model based on high-tech innovation, which could be a disruptive technology. In Korea, a unicorn is a startup with a valuation of over 1 trillion won.

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Copyrights The Korea Economic Daily Global Edition. All Rights Reserved.
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Write to Hae-Sung Lee at

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.

Source: The Korea Economic Daily Global Edition (Mar. 17, 2023)

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