How are SMEs and Startups supported in Korea

SMEs tend to need help quite often from outside world to grow. Provinces play an important role in supporting them for making a better environment.

1. Fostering Global Small and Medium-sized Enterprises with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups in 2021

Gyeonggi Province, along with the Ministry of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Startups, will launch the 2021 Global Small and Medium Business Development Project for 50 small and medium-sized companies in the province, enabling then to lead export markets while energizing the local economy.

Since 2016, Gyeonggi-do has been working with the Gyeonggi Regional SME and Startup Office and the Gyeonggi Business & Science Accelerator in the operation a development project for small and medium-sized enterprises. To date, SMEs in the province with sales of KRW 10 billion to 100 billion won and direct and indirect exports of more than USD 5 million dollars had been eligible to participate.

Starting this year, however, the project participant pool has been expanded to include innovative companies (e.g., venture, inobiz, main biz companies) and service sector companies with sales in between KRW 5 billion to 100 billion and direct and indirect exports of more than USD 1 million.

If selected, a company can receive support and benefits from the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, including up to KRW 200 million in overseas marketing through export vouchers, preferential points when participating in technology development projects, and financial and guarantee favors for 4 years from 2021 to 2024.

Each company will also receive up to KRW 15 million a year via self-support programs tailored to corporate requirements, including prototype development, design development, product specification certification, intellectual property rights acquisition, and promotional market development.

Corporations seeking to support global small and medium-sized companies can apply through the Small and Medium Business Export Support Center website (www.exportcenter.go.kr) by 6 p.m. on February 8. This year, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, an informational video will be available on the website instead of offline business briefing sessions.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,443 companies across the country have participated in the global SME development project since its introduction in 2011, and 727 companies are currently taking part. Among these, 175 companies are based in Gyeonggi Province, accounting for 24.1 percent of the total.

2. Support for SME online overseas marketing

Gyeonggi Province announced that it achieved a total of USD 3.27 million in sales as a result of supporting online overseas marketing by 420 small and medium-sized companies last year.

This represents a 560% increase compared to sales in 2019, and the number of transactions also increased 394% to 71,690 cases. Sales per product increased 35%, indicating that company operating efficiency improved significantly.

Last year, the province supported the launch of 120 small and medium-sized businesses in the province on global B2C (business-to- consumer) online platforms, including Amazon, and supported 130 companies with the promotion of their products through influencers on Facebook and Instagram.

Gyeonggi-do also supported 30 companies seeking access to Southeast Asian markets with entry through famous local online malls, such as Shopee, and virtual export consultations.

A tteokbokki sauce vendor, for example, which participated in the B2C initiative, realized approximately USD 40,000 in sales based on the high interest in convenient foods since the onset of COVID-19.

The Gyeonggi Provincial Government plans to support the introduction of SME products through global online platforms such as Alibaba this year, and to further support companies, especially with the management of YouTube channels and creation of promotional videos through the cultivation of digital content professionals.
Gyeonggi Intellectual Property Center offers counseling by experts when SMEs need help 
ⓒGyeonggi Province

3. SME Damage Support - Technology Protection Desk

Gyeonggi-do’s Technology Protection Desk, which supports counseling on intellectual property rights for SMEs, conducted 45 consultations a month from November to December last year, becoming an effective resource for such companies.

The Technology Protection Desk is a window that provides counseling by experts when SMEs that lack appropriate resources experience technology infringement. The most common case among the consultations was proprietary technology theft through knockoffs.

The Korean Bar Association, which has been enlisted to operate the Technology Protection Desk, has established a pool of 185 members with abundant field experience to provide professional and detailed counseling, and continues to recruit expert personnel.

Based on future consultations, the Technology Protection Desk plans to compile an collate cases relating to the leakage and infringement of intellectual property rights experienced by SMEs and to publish a case book supplemented by legal knowledge for later distribution to prospective and upcoming SMEs.

If follow-up support is deemed necessary after consultation, the case is connected with a consultation, trial, and litigation support program operated by the Gyeonggi Knowledge Property Center. Through in-depth consultations, program personnel offer advice on appropriate procedures and methods to resolve damage from technology exploitation, and further support of up to KRW 20 million won may be provided if the affected company proceeds with patent lawsuits.

SMEs based in Gyeonggi-do that wish to consult on damage from technology exploitation and leakage can contact the Gyeonggi-do Technology Protection Desk (031-776-4890).

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Gyeonggido-Korea (경기도): How are SMEs and Startups supported in Korea
How are SMEs and Startups supported in Korea
SMEs tend to need help quite often from outside world to grow. Provinces play an important role in supporting them for making a better environment.
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