At present, the South Korean government’s key policy goal is the realization of a creative economy. According to the government, the creation of added values and decent jobs based on innovation economic development can be achieved by the realization of a creative economy in which creativity, a challenging spirit and the power of innovation are combined with one another. With the fourth industrial revolution based on information and communications technology (ICT) convergence and innovation determining the international competitiveness of countries, the significance of a creative economy as a policy task South Korea has to fulfill is on the increase and right at the center of it is entrepreneurship. This is because a successful creative economy cannot be obtained without the cultivation of entrepreneurship for creating new business opportunities based on creativity and challenge against the status quo.
This also has to do with today’s global trend of the revival of entrepreneurship in which a large number of pre-startups and startups are making a challenge based on creativity. Many advanced economies currently have economic revitalization via startups as their national vision and are stressing the importance of entrepreneurship as a tool for realizing it, examples of which include Startup America of the United States, La French Tech of France and Startup Britain of Britain.
Likewise, the South Korean government is in pursuit of creative economic strategy focusing on job creation in order to deal with a low economic growth rate, a high unemployment rate and the ongoing low growth. In the current era of economic innovation, the practice of entrepreneurship is one of the most important keys to success and entrepreneurship is the number one dynamo of economic development based on new market penetration. South Korea’s growth so far into a global trade powerhouse is a result of the practice of entrepreneurship that has allowed the nation to create something from nothing by dint of the diligence of the entire nation. It is on this very foundation that the late Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung, the late Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chul and may other first-generation entrepreneurs led the past economic growth of South Korea. During the IMF bailout in the late 1990s, second-generation entrepreneurs such as Lee Hae-jin, Hwang Cheol-ju and Jo Hyun-jung appeared as new growth drivers of the country. Their individual capabilities were outstanding but a number of South Korean venture firms failed in the immature startup ecosystem, which caused the entrepreneurship of South Korea to wither.
The present government is concentrating on the creative economy as a new growth engine of the country. Now is the time for the third-generation entrepreneurship to rise for the success of the creative economy. It can be said that the third-generation entrepreneurship can be born in the era of entrepreneurial ecosystem when the entire nation has entrepreneurship because the third-generation entrepreneurship is possible only on the foundation of a developed startup ecosystem and individuals’ creativity.
The Small & Medium Business Administration (SMBA) of South Korea has made huge efforts to foster such an ecosystem by having venture and startup promotion as its main slogan. It has run various policy and programs for entrepreneurship education and the diffusion of the culture of entrepreneurship on the belief that the cultivation of entrepreneurship matters the most for job creation for the youth and economic recovery. The organization has set up entrepreneurship centers at the colleges including the Seoul National University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) so that they can make the linchpin of entrepreneurship and has held the Youth Startup Concert all across the country. In addition, it is planning to reflect convergence- and creativity-oriented education for the promotion of entrepreneurship in the regular curriculums of primary and secondary schools from 2018 as is the case with the Oslo Agenda EU member countries adopted in 2006. Furthermore, students will be given opportunities to visit fast-growing firms and learn about entrepreneurship by experience in association with the free semester system. The Korea Entrepreneurship Foundation, which can be compared to the Kauffman Foundation in the United States, is providing national campaigns and setting the foundation of better entrepreneurship education as well.
In this context, this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Congress Plus taking place in Daegu City (GEC+ DAEGU) is very meaningful as an occasion in which entrepreneurship experts meet to share their entrepreneurship education status and search for better ways of cooperation. There, the participants from all around the world will have a series of constructive discussions to contribute to the promotion of entrepreneurship on a global level.