Editor’s note: TNGlobal is one of the selected international media organisations invited to COMEUP 2023 held in Seoul, South Korea. (sponsored)

The COMEUP 2023 kicked off in Seoul on Wednesday with the slogan “We Move the World” as it aims to become a global startup festival. The three-day event is designed to promote Korea’s startup ecosystem to the world and interact with global startups and investors.

The event will showcase a new transformation, with a focus on expanding exchanges between global ecosystems. In addition to large delegations from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, 35 countries from around the world, including the US, France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Cambodia, Uganda, and Senegal, will participate in the event.

The event sees panel talks, business matching, networking sessions, and presentations of successful collaborative cases between startups and large, medium, small, and global companies. The event is expected to see the participation of nearly 700 startup ecosystem stakeholders from 35 countries around the world.

The COMEUP 2023 opening ceremony on Wednesday morning saw government officials, startup founders, investors and leaders from technology and corporate world gathering in Seoul.

Photo credit: Ministry of SMEs and Startups, South Korea

Lee Young, South Korea’s minister of SMEs and startups, said she hopes to create a new virtuous cycle for the startup ecosystem.

“Although our startup ecosystem is dynamic as ever, Korea is not complacent,” she said in her welcoming remarks at the opening ceremony. “The number of tech unicorns in Korea has increased to 14 in 2022, from 6 in 2019. Domestic venture investment has doubled in four years’ time, from $5.4 billion in 2019 to $9.7 billion in 2022.”

She pointed out that a quarter of the CES 2023 Innovation awards were given to K-startups. Also, South Korea ranked tenth in the number of unicorns, data from CB Insights showed.

Lee said the government has several new policies to support the tech ecosystem.

This includes borderless entrepreneurship policy which aims to support overseas startups founded by Korean nationals (outbound) and relaxing criteria of work and student visa for startups employment (inbound). The government also aims to create an innovation hub, promote open innovation, and build a number one startup landmark, through its so-called “Global Startup Hub” policy.

“We welcome all entrepreneurs from all around the world,” she said.

Distinguished guests who attended the opening ceremony also include Minister of Investment Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Khalid al-Falih (representative); Euidong Yu, Chairperson of National Policy Committee, the National Assembly of Korea; Sami Ibrahim Al-Hussaini, Governor of Monsha’at of Saudi Arabia; Jaeuk Park, Chairman of Korea Startup Forum, among others.

COMEUP 2023 will be held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea from Nov 8 to 10, and will also be available online, through a livestream.

COMEUP is the largest startup festival in Korea. Since last year, the event has transitioned to a private sector-led event with government assistance. The Korea Startup Forum has been selected as the lead private sector organizer to plan and operate the entire event.

COMEUP 2023 is the fifth event since 2019.

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