Entrepreneurs make their best pitch

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Entrepreneurs make their best pitch

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Cho Hang-eui, CEO of an agricultural brand developer, presents his product Thursday at Demo Day, hosted by the Korea Development Bank (KDB) at its headquarters in Yeouido, western Seoul. Provided by KDB

“Consumers will be able to enjoy high-quality produce while farms will be able to get closer to consumers without middlemen,” said Cho Hang-eui, the young CEO of an agricultural brand developer, at the Demo Day presentation hosted by the Korea Development Bank (KDB) on Thursday at the bank’s headquarters in Yeouido, western Seoul.

Cho and eight other start-up CEOs confidently presented their products and business models to an audience of about 300, including angel investors, venture capitalists and officials from various start-up support organizations.

Products demonstrated at the event included uninterrupted power suppliers for areas that lack electricity, smartphone applications that find the best coffee places, and delivery services and math teaching programs through data mining.

Of the nine entrepreneurs, Sidea, developer of a smartphone application that can check arrival and departure times at offices, was selected as the winner and received 50 million won ($45,000). But this is not the end. Sidea and the rest of the participants will get support from KDB as they develop their businesses under the bank’s new start-up acceleration program.

The Thursday event was part of the KDB Startup Accelerating Program, offered by the bank as the first of its kind in the financial industry.

KDB, the state-run bank that will be relaunched next year and integrated with the Korea Finance Corporation, has pledged to be a leading financial institution supporter of the Park Geun-hye administration’s creative economy initiative.

The bank launched the start-up accelerating program in May in cooperation with the Korea Venture Business Association and Korea Business Incubation Association with the aim of sponsoring a start-up program that helps entrepreneurs develop ideas into businesses and attract investment.

In August, a total of 240 entrepreneurs applied for the program, and 25 were selected. Nine teams were chosen after they actually created businesses.

For the past three months, the entrepreneurs were educated on starting businesses and learned about various business tactics such as investment, marketing and accounting. Experts in each field and experienced business owners were their mentors.

During the program, the participants also had opportunities to meet with angel investors and venture capitalists with the help of KDB.

“The purpose of holding today’s event is to help potential entrepreneurs who have ample ideas and outstanding technologies but have difficulty finding financing,” said Hong Ky-tack, chairman of KDB Financial Group. “For excellent start-ups, KDB will be the first financial institution to help them attract angel investment and offer business mentoring. After merging with Korea Finance Corporation next year, KDB will be playing a leading role in supporting start-ups and small businesses.

“While making efforts to discover startups, KDB also will help them expand into other countries by forming partnerships and funds with foreign financial institutions.”

“There have been some one-time start-up programs that provided them mentoring services for brief periods of time, but the KDB program keeps supporting selected start-ups until they successfully attract investment,” said a spokesman from the bank. “The point is that we will look after start-ups throughout their growth.”

The bank plans to run the program as an annul event in order to make it a representative start-up acceleration program in the country.


BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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