Speaking in Seoul at the COMEUP (컴업) StartUp Festival 2022

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November 2022

Watch the recording here (GEP session starts at 3hrs 05mins): [Live] COMEUP 2022 Day 1 - YouTube

No sooner was Russell back from representing Scotland at the Web Summit in Lisbon, was he flying to South Korea supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT).

"Nothing can prepare you for the Mega City of Seoul. It's 18 years since I last visited the capital of South Korea... The city itself is a mixture of gleaming high-rises, historical sites, traditional Korean shops and everywhere someone is making coffee. The traffic can be appalling but the underground city, (calling this shopping empire a metro is not sufficient) is smooth and easy. But what has not changed is the pure delight I experience with every engagement with local Koreans be they hotel staff or entrepreneurs." - Russell Dalgleish

As a DIT Dealmaker, Russell works passionately and tirelessly to promote the UK across the globe. The expansion of the Global Entrepreneur Programme has also allowed the appointment of a local dealmaker, Yerim Koo who works closely with local founders transitioning their business to the UK. Entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs the way it should be!

In between meetings, Russell had the opportunity to speak at the COMEUP (컴업) StartUp Conference - a remarkable platform to share insight into the Scottish innovation ecosystem.

"It was an excellent session. So much looking forward to further long-term collaboration!" - Josh Choi, Executive Director of COMEUP
The event took place at the magnificent Dongdaemun Design Plaza (동대문디자인플라자).
"The pure buzz of entrepreneurial energy and true business acumen here has to be envied. And cynicism doesn't appear to be part of the culture. Replaced instead with a wonderful can-do attitude." - Russell Dalgleish, Public Speaker

In this post, Russell reflects on speaking at, what many are calling, one of the most important StartUp gatherings in the world and shares his key insights from the conference. To read (like and share) the original article, follow this link: LinkedIn-South Korea-StartUp-Activity

The Korean StartUp Scene

By Russell Dalgleish

I was delighted to accept the invitation to join a panel, alongside my colleagues from the Department for International Trade (DIT) at this week's COMEUP (컴업) StartUp Festival in Seoul.

We shared insight into the unique support available through the DiT Global Entrepreneur Programme to de-risk international companies moving their HQ to the UK.

I was also given the opportunity, both on the stage and in 1-2-1s, to share the "Scottish Offer" for entrepreneurs, including world-leading initiatives such as The CivTech Programme.

Over 900 Korean StartUps applied to participate in the festival with only the top couple of dozen being selected to exhibit, pitch and present. We were therefore in the company of real tech stars from this country that is dedicated to innovation.

All the StartUps I met had secured significant funding and developed a product/market fit in Korea and nearby countries and were delivering strong revenues.

The key themes that I picked from the conference were:

1. Local funding sources in Korea have become much more restricted which matches the experience in many countries around the world.

2. There is much more desire to internationalise Korean tech firms than I have witnessed before with the US and Europe being viewed as key markets for client acquisition and investment.

3. AI lies at the heart of all the products I was presented with and IOT is seen as now universal. The range of sectors covered could not have been broader from Fashion to Utilities; Fintech to Food; Security to services for the elderly and of course Web3.0.

4. Lee Young Minister for SMEs and Startups emphasised the need for regulatory reform and globalization for the nation’s startup ecosystem.

The Korean Herald quoted the minister backing up her words with planned action: “𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐥’𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐮𝐩𝐬 𝐭𝐨 8 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐨𝐧 ($5.6 𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧). 𝐒𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐠𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭-𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐟𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐫𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐭 𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐧 𝐠𝐥𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐞𝐬. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐡 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐮𝐩𝐬 𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐬. 𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭 𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐲 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐢𝐝 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡 50 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐨𝐧.”

Heady targets indeed, but with the intellectual capital, exceptionally well-educated workforce and an enviable drive in everyone I met I reckon the world should prepare as Korea is coming :)

Hopefully, with some of these companies enticed to Scotland - and that's why I'm here!

- Russell Dalgleish

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