South Korea’s startup culture has been gaining more attention as of late. According to Korea’s Small and Medium Business Administration, the number of startups in the country soared to roughly 30,000 as of January this year, up from a mere 2,000 some 16 years ago. And among that group, 63 have risen to No. 1 in terms of market share in their respective industries.
But in spite of that growth and the government’s ongoing support for building a “creative economy,” one that favors and encourages young entrepreneurship, Korea’s startup culture is not as advantageous or conducive as it might seem. While many have the impression the country’s startup landscape is teeming with opportunity, there are some who remain skeptical of its true offerings.
One such entrepreneur is Jae Lee, founder and CEO of Movable Ads, a mobile advertising application that empowers sports fans from all over the world to engage and cheer on their favorite teams or players in real time. The company has offices in Texas and Seoul, and has already begun to expand into the European market with a another branch in Germany.
“The startup mentality in Korea is applying the same principles as conglomerates, being plagued by fear and accepting failure when it comes, as it is simply par for the course for those passionate enough to follow what they really believe in,” notes Lee. “That drive is lacking in Korean startup culture nowadays — failure is inevitable in most cases. Korean often remain disillusioned, or take the easy route to avoid such calamity. This is just not the way to go.”
For all of Korea’s perceived development, the country still lags behind much of the developed world in terms of true startup success. Korean conglomerates have a tendency to focus on recruiting engineers with innovative ideas from either suppliers or rival companies, an approach that stifles ambition and curtails entrepreneurial spirit.
The full article appears on Forbes and can be viewed here.
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