Mapo to get huge start-up hub

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Mapo to get huge start-up hub


The government is planning to launch Korea’s largest start-up hub in Mapo District, western Seoul, by early 2020.

The Finance Ministry, Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced a detailed plan for Mapo Innovation Town, a 20-story start-up space, on Wednesday.

The plan is to foster 300 start-ups over the course of three years once it is completed in May 2020. The start-up space will be open to companies started by entrepreneurs younger than 40 years old who started their companies less than 7 years ago.

Mapo Innovation Town, which will be housed at the Korea Credit Guarantee Fund building, aims to cater to businesses offering a variety of services, from business consulting and fintech to virtual reality.

The building will have a total floor area of 36,259 square meters (8.9 acres), equivalent to Europe’s biggest start-up campus, Station F in Paris.

The government’s plan is to create a triangular innovation cluster in western Seoul by connecting the Mapo complex, which will be near Gongdeok Station, with nearby universities, including Yonsei University and Sogang University as well as well as financial companies in Yeouido.

It also hopes to create a larger ecosystem by integrating with IT clusters on Gangnam’s Teheran-ro and in Gyeonggi’s Pangyo Technology Valley.

Mapo Innovation Town will partially open in the fourth quarter of next year, and is scheduled to fully open in May 2020.

“The center will support start-ups from young people using fourth industrial revolution core technologies, such as fintech, artificial intelligence and blockchain,” said Sohn Joo-hyung, and official at the financial industry bureau of the FSC.

According to the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, in the first half of this year, the number of new companies increased 6.8 percent from a year ago to hit 52,790, an all-time record.

While most of the new companies established in the first half were started by those in their 40s, at 18,572, followed by those in their 30s, at 11,137, the government noted that the numbers of companies founded by those in their 30s or younger grew by over 8 percent.

“Demands for spaces that could support start-ups has grown,” the government report said.

It also noted that there was a significant shortage of affordable spaces for start-ups.

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