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Finland, ROK to jointly foster startups

12 Jun 2019, 01:53 ( 4 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
President Sauli Niinistö and ROK President Moon Jae-in at the Finland Korea Startup Summit on Tuesday. Photo President Office by Matti Porre.

Cooperation between Finland and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in nurturing startup activities and promoting new business development was highlighted as President Sauli Niinistö and ROK President Moon Jae-in both addressed a seminar here on Tuesday.

The conference on startups was the largest event during President Moon's two-day state visit to Finland.

Niinistö noted that Finland and the ROK face many common challenges. "We both need to work hard on maintaining our competitiveness and the sustainability of our societies. Global problems like climate change affect us both. By innovating together, we are better able to rise up to these challenges."

Moon recalled that the two countries have agreed on creating a joint venture investment system that will help startups in both countries. He said he expected this synergy to be beneficial to both sides. He also noted that his country was the "first to make 5G commercial," and that Finland was the "first to start 6G network research."

Moon also highlighted Finland's successes in innovation and transformation in the wake of being dependent on Nokia. The change in Finland "resonates in (the Republic of) Korea, whose own economic structure was centered on conglomerates," Moon said.

Among the agreements signed during the visit was a plan to set up an ROK startup center in Finland. ROK media said this would be the third center of its kind. The previous two are in the U.S. and in India. The center would help speed up the entry of ROK startups in the north European market.

Niinistö said Finland has a lot to offer in this field. "Our startup ecosystem has developed immensely in the past decade. Today, Helsinki and Finland at large are internationally renowned as a hub of startups and angel investors."

Niinistö noted that the role of the public sector in this development has mainly been to remove obstacles. "Active serial entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial societies established by students in many universities have been the real driving force."

Niinistö said that the annual not-for-profit startup and tech "Slush" event organized in Helsinki is the most visible proof of this development. "In 10 years, it has grown from a 300-person conference into one of the leading global startup events with over 20,000 attendees from over 130 countries."