COMEUP 2023 Opens its Doors to a Global Startup Ecosystem

The opening ceremony of ‘COMEUP 2023,’ South Korea’s largest startup event, took place at Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) on the 8th. The opening ceremony marked the start of the three-day ‘COMEUP 2023,’ running from the 8th to the 10th, and showcased the event’s international stature.

In addition to notable Korean attendees, various overseas government officials and global companies took part in the opening ceremony. These included Sami bin Ibrahim Al-Hussaini, the Director-General of the Saudi Ministry of SMEs; Abdulaziz Al-Risi, the Deputy Director-General of the Omani Ministry of SMEs; Marc-Antoine Jamet, the Chairman of Cosmetic Valley; Olivia Hervy, the Chief Eco-System Officer of VIVA Technology; and Howard Wright, the Deputy Head of AWS’s Startup Division.

Furthermore, a large Saudi Arabian and UAE diplomatic delegation visited this COMEUP event, with foreign startups making up about 60% of participants. A separate ‘Global Community Zone’ for around 100 foreign startups was newly established, underlining COMEUP’s evolution as an international event.

Minister Lee Young of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups proposed a vision for a ‘Global Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Network’ in her welcoming address. She suggested creating this network together with participants from around the world. As the startup era dawns, there are many startup clusters worldwide, such as Silicon Valley in the United States and Station F in France. However, there is a lack of close exchanges among them. We will connect startup clusters around the world with Korea at the center.

Specifically, to support borderless entrepreneurship, the startup and employment visa system will be relaxed. By 2024, we plan to create a global fund worth 10 trillion KRW. We will establish a global startup hub that connects global clusters with Korea at the center and implement a digital network, enabling startups worldwide to interact and cooperate without physical space constraints.

This year’s ‘COMEUP 2023’ event has attracted over 700 participants from 35 countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the United States, France, Switzerland, Japan, and Vietnam. Various programs, including conferences, open innovation, COMEUP Stars, and auxiliary events, are unfolding.

The ‘Conference’ sessions cover startup growth stages, with topics like ‘Are you really going to start a business with your dreams?’ and ‘Global Expansion: Myths and Realities.’ Over three days, about 70 speakers will participate, addressing about 20 topics.

The second day is designated as ‘Open Innovation Day,’ with more than 20 global companies, such as NVIDIA, Dassault Systemes, Hyundai Motor, and Naver Cloud, participating. They will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the concept of open innovation by presenting successful collaboration cases between startups and corporate startups.

Furthermore, you can meet COMEUP Stars, representing innovative startups that broke through a high competition rate. The booth and IR pitching stage of COMEUP will be available. Additionally, over 160 venture capitals (VCs) and corporate venture capitals (CVCs) from domestic and foreign companies are conducting business matching.

Eight domestic and international startup support agencies, including the Korean-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry, KOICA, GEA, and ASEIC, are participating and introducing various countries’ entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Especially in connection with the ‘K-Global Cluster with COMEUP’ event in Seongsu-dong, thematic seminars by country for cosmetics, biotechnology, and tech fields, R&D conferences, and various programs and auxiliary events are unfolding for three days.

Korea Startup Forum Chairman Park Jae-wook said, “COMEUP 2023 has been organized with a variety of programs that can convey the vivid voices of startups that move the world.” He expressed his hope that the global startup ecosystem would actively exchange, create practical business and network opportunities, and help create the COMEUP platform.

Minister Lee Young expressed her hope that COMEUP 2023 would become a platform for anticipating new innovation and the future, where startups from all over the world connect and interact. She emphasized that the Ministry of SMEs and Startups would take the lead in enhancing the role and status of startups around the world.

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