BUSINESS

SK Group, local governments team up to back start-ups

By Kim Young-won
  • Published : Feb 1, 2015 - 21:04
  • Updated : Feb 1, 2015 - 21:04
DAEJEON ― The Daejeon Creative Economy Innovation Center, an institute run by SK Group to support start-ups, has become a hotbed of business creativity.

Housed at KAIST, one of Korea’s most prestigious tech and science universities, the creative economy center was jointly established by Daejeon Metropolitan City, KAIST, and SK Group last October with an aim to nurture entrepreneurs and help fledgling businesses conduct research and development and commercialize their technology at home and abroad.

Through the creative center, five ventures have raised 1.3 billion won ($1.2 million) in funding, and three of them have already posted 694 million won in sales so far. The number of employees hired by the start-ups is also growing steadily.

The center is encouraging tech-savvy students and researchers to launch start-up business and two-thirds of the chief executives at a total of the 13 start-ups backed by the center hold master’s or doctoral degrees, according to SK Group.
Businesspeople participate in an entrepreneurship program at the Daejeon Creative Economy Innovation Center on Friday. (SK Group)

“Since the launch last year, the creative center has been a breath of fresh air in the research and development cluster in Daejeon by helping researchers to start their businesses with their technology and patents,” said Lee Jae-ho, the head of the CEIC.

The businesses participating in the entrepreneurship programs of the CEIC include NanoLambda, which develops micro spectrometers, TEGway, the developer of world’s first wearable sensors that generate power utilizing body heat, Web-based video editing program maker MJV and budget action camera producer THES.

TEGway’s wearable thermoelectric generator won a Netexplo award this year, which is given by UNESCO to the world’s top 10 innovations that could create a positive impact on human life.

“For start-ups, marketing is the biggest sticking point, but the CEIC’s venture programs help the participants to reach out to potential buyers and customers at home and abroad,” Lee Kyung-soo, the head of TEGway, said in a meeting with reporters on Friday at the CEIC.

SK Group is also working with the Sejong City government to transform villages where most of residents are seniors into smart towns.

Helping farmers efficiently manage and monitor their farms, greenhouses, and barns with ICT devices is in line with such efforts.

With smartphones, farmers can monitor and control temperatures inside greenhouses where they grow produce like strawberries and tomatoes.

“The installation of the farm management systems makes it more convenient to monitor produce as farmers do not need to stay inside the greenhouse all night to maintain the right temperature,” said Jang Geol-soon, a farmer in the model smart farm town Yeondong-myeon, Sejong City.

Smart surveillance cameras installed across the town also serve as guardians to protect the town from thieves looking to steal agricultural produce or farm animals.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)