In recent years, with government startups centered on supporting policies, South Korea is gradually completing the dream of becoming a successful startup nation not only in Asia but also around the world. In which, Seoul - the capital city of the country has always been a convergence of many of the leading "unicorns" with the appearance of several startups assisting organizations, especially SBA (Seoul Business Agency) - a business support institution for SMEs and startups.
South Korea has a thriving startup ecosystem with over 30,000 startups, bringing in over 100,000 jobs. The country now has more than 120 venture capital fund management companies, most of which focus on small and medium-sized businesses and startups with beliefs that these businesses and startups will be the main drivers of the country's future economic growth. In April 2019, Seoul Metropolitan Government reinforced its orientation of economic policy towards startups, envisioning that “Seoul will be the global top 5 startup city by 2022”.
The Seoul Business Agency (SBA) is a local government-funded agency established by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in 1998 to develop the industry and boost Seoul’s economy by enhancing the capabilities of its SMEs. With that, the SBA Accelerator Program promotes startups growth and establishes a virtuous startup cycle through the provision of high-growth services including the discovery of promising companies that have high-growth potential with investors. Recognizing Vietnam as a potential market for many Korean startups, Seoul Startup Hub (under SBA) has cooperated with VTC Online and KIMC Group to implement the program “2020 SBA Vietnam Localization Supporting Program” (2020 년도 SBA 베트남 현지화 지원 프로그램).
The "2020 SBA Vietnam Localization Support Program" is funded 100% from SBA to help startups expand their market in Vietnam, and find local partners to commercialize their products here. The program lasts for 6 months and is divided into 3 main stages: (1) signing LOIs (Letter of Intent) with partners in Vietnam; (2) implementing development assisting activities with regional experts; (3) operating product promotion, legal and administrative work. The startups participating in this program are carefully selected through interviews to ensure the commitment and quality of output for the program. They must be startups that have excellent ideas, businesses in culture and arts, and new occupational clusters, etc.
Through thorough research on the development needs of participating startups, program implementers met with local businesses and corporations to introduce and connect, help the two sides can cooperate most favorably. Parallel with that, with a network of leading experts in many fields in Vietnam, startups have the opportunity to participate in mentoring and training programs to improve and complete their business model, marketing plan and product adjusting to being suitable for the Vietnam market. The ultimate goal of the program is to successfully bring startups' products to Vietnam by setting up businesses or joint ventures with other businesses here.
Because of the Covid-19 epidemic, startups can hardly move between countries to seek opportunities and explore the market but they cannot delay all their development plans either. Therefore, the “global untacting program” like the “2020 SBA Vietnam Localization Support Program” has become an attractive alternative and competitive approach for the current time.