Gov’t hopes start-up hub will create jobs

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Gov’t hopes start-up hub will create jobs

A building once occupied by a government institution will be turned into a hub for start-ups run by young Koreans, part of the government’s effort to address the youth unemployment issue in the country.

The government on Monday revealed a detailed plan to renovate a building formerly used by the Korea Credit Guarantee Fund in Mapo District, western Seoul. The building will be used as an education hub and support center for people looking to find jobs or start companies in sectors considered part of the so-called “fourth industrial revolution,” including artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Since the Korea Credit Guarantee Fund was relocated to Daegu in 2014, the building has largely been vacant. The government has repeatedly tried to sell the building but failed to find a buyer.

The plan was first introduced in the proposal for a supplementary budget made by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, which was submitted to the National Assembly for approval earlier this month.

One of the main focuses of the supplementary budget, worth 3.9 trillion won ($3.7 billion), was unemployment among young people, which the government says could have a “catastrophic” impact on the country.

Out of the 3.9 trillion won, 2.9 trillion has been set aside specifically to create jobs for young people.

Encouraging young people to start businesses can create jobs and bring about innovation, the government thinks.

“A considerable number of jobs in Korea are created by start-ups,” said the ministry in a press release. “Start-ups by young people will play a key role in producing sustainable jobs and innovation.”

According to the Korea Development Institute, employment in Korea rose by 268,000 on average from 2012 to 2014. Nearly 90 percent of those jobs came from companies that were less than a year old.

The building will undergo remodeling until the first half of 2019. Once it opens, it will provide office space to as many as 300 start-ups. To be considered for a spot in the center, the founder of the company must be younger than 39.

The government will provide financial support of as much as 100 million won to the start-ups that settle in the building. It will create a 10 trillion won fund to support that initiative by 2020.

Mapo District is an ideal location for start-ups as it is close to a number of universities including Yonsei University and Hongik University.

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