Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy and Innovation (GCCEI) has been a new buzzword in town because of its unique model of the collaboration between the Korean central or local governments and large businesses, attracting many high-ranking officials from abroad. The President of Bulgaria, the Prime Minister of China, the President of Mongolia and the President of Costa Rica have been to GCCEI, including 2,700 high-ranking government officials from more than 120 countries.
They have raised very insightful questions, through which we’ve learned a lot, trying the best to improve what we have been doing at GCCEI. And we have set the global network in almost 80 countries at the moment. The most important thing is that we can help Korean startups enter foreign markets with local partners in those countries. We have been right here only to serve the growth of startups.
One day, all of a sudden, ‘The “Choi Soon-sil Gate” took place. And the Centers for Creative Economy and Innovation were in the eye of the political storm without our recognitition. I couldn’t understand exactly what was going on. Only because these centers have “Creative Economy” in the name and simply because there is some suspicion that the Centers for Creative Economy and Innovation were affected by Choi Soon-sil, we were already guilty as charged.
I’ve been working for the past 15 months day and night to help startups grow well. I did not work for GCCEI for any political agenda. None of the colleagues or none of the startups that we have accelerated have not been working for any political agenda or political parties. We have been here only to assist startups. More than 1,440 startups CCEIs have accelerated have no political agenda, either. Neither startups nor staff members have worked for any political party or agenda. We just have dedicated so much energy to helping startups, and so I couldn’t accept any political accusation against us. We have worked for only startups, no one else.
The Centers for Creative Economy and Innovation should be judged based upon what they have achieved or have not achieved, not based upon what name they have used to accelerate startups. It’s not about the name nor the current administration. The centers are not political entities. We are just the public accelerators of startups. Thus we should not be politically judged.
Actually not a single scandal from the centers has been brought up so far. No one in those centers has committed any crime or has been involved in criminal charges at all. They should not be treated just upon baseless rumors. We have never been accused of what we did wrong. There is no serious debate regarding what we have done well or what we have not done well. You could just guess how frustrating it is to work hard and end up being branded “Politically Guilty.”
One Japanese scholar I had met said, “South Korea has been always strong with changes, but whenever there was a change of the administration, the following administration tried always to eliminate what the former administration has done, which is a waste of resources, not to mention the lack of consistency of innovation policies.”
The Centers for Creative Economy and Innovation have been right there only to help and support startups, accelerating their growth. Thus, The Centers for Creative Economy and Innovation should be judged only by whether they are doing a good job or not. It would be a great loss if we have to shut down the Centers for Creative Economy and Innovation simply because there is a change of administration. We should have consistent innovation policies. Otherwise, startups would be hit hard, and ultimately the future of Korea would be compromised in the near future.
Contributed by David Sehyeon Baek, Director of Global Cooperation at GCCEI