It looks like a modern-day library with people glued to their laptop screens in a big hall. There are glass cubicles where groups of people are engaged in animated discussions. The first floor looks more occupied but not even a decibel of noise is allowed so that people busy at work are not disturbed.
This is the Creative Economy Center of the South Korean government’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. The people busy on their laptops are prospective businessmen with innovative ideas. The cubicles are the places where these prospective businessmen with innovative ideas engage in discussion with financiers, conglomerate representatives and others to sell their dreams.
The first floor is occupied by those whose ideas have already crossed the first hurdle of selection.
There are a number of banners put up across the hall, showing the innovative business ideas which have won government approval. There are banners about innovative apps, self-diagnosis medical devices, an air de-humidifier which can be easily de-assembled for cleaning, etc.
“This is a new economic concept,” Koh, Kyeongmo, director general of the Creative Economy Policy Department at the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, told Saudi Gazette.
The Creative Economy Policy department was launched in 2013 to help startups and create more jobs.
“We work on three models: Training and education, supporting startups, and exchange program,” he said during an interview at the department’s headquarters.
He said a similar concept has been successfully adopted in Silicon Valley in the US and in Factory Berlin.
Based on the creative economy concept, Korea’s largest telecom company SK Telecom signed in March this year an MoU with Saudi Telecom Company (STC) to collaborate on the development of innovation potential in the Kingdom and to explore business opportunities in Saudi Arabia in particular and the Arab region in general in areas, such as digital healthcare, education, smart cities, smart learning, IoT, Lifeware (life+hardware/software) and BEMS (Building Energy Management System).
Saudi Arabia is also planning a center modeled on the concept of the Creative Economic Innovation Center in Daejeon, which was jointly established by SK Group and the Korean government to support the growth of startups and SMEs in line with the Korean Government’s Creative Economy philosophy.
“We are looking for innovation cooperation ties with the Mideast,” said Koh, whose department receives on an average 99 innovative business ideas a month.
Most of these ideas are related to IT, IoT, gaming and agriculture, Koh told Saudi Gazette.
The Creative Economy Center is now developing a 5G infrastructure. The MoU between SK Telecom and STC marks the first time a Korean model for economic revitalization has been transfered to another country, opening the doors for valuable opportunities in the Middle Eastern market for new digital/ICT-based growth businesses, including smart cities, healthcare and smart learning.
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