‘Creative Economy’ is currently one of Korea’s key buzzwords of the new government administration to fuel jobs and stimulate economic growth. The government has opened the doors for more foreign entrepreneurs to base their start-ups in Korea. Many long-term Aussie expats are moving into more stable business areas as the ESL market shrinks and more opportunities emerge for business owners in the foreign start-up community. Making the community more attractive to students transitioning from study to start-up businesses has led to the creation of Korea’s OASIS Start-up Visa Program for foreigners (OASIS – Overall Assistance for Start-up Immigration System).
Australians studying at Korean universities would be eligible for the new OASIS visa program to help establish their start-up in Korea. Run in conjunction with the Seoul Business Association (SBA) and the Ministry of Justice, the OASIS program is designed as a course based points system towards a Start-Up (D-8-4) visa.
Participants in the program are designated to complete a series of courses helping them to become familiar with Korean society and the regulations for SME’s based in Seoul. Each completed course in the program will count towards the new start-up visa. The hours are student friendly with modules run 2-3 hours per day for a period of 2-3 weeks.
Some of the courses include introductions to intellectual property law in Korea; understanding of labour and start-up laws; patent fee and registration support; coaching and mentoring; and assistance in setting up your company in Korea.
However, starting your business in Seoul is no guarantee of success. The reality is that Korea has one of the highest failure rates for start-up companies in the OCED: more than 60% fail. The Korean government has acknowledged more needs to be done to attract foreign talent to their shores and create positive change. But be proactive, Korea doesn’t have the diversity of other start-up ecosystems in Asia and remember it takes work to succeed in the market.
Look for help at Every Opportunity
Don’t be afraid to find a mentor, look for help at every opportunity. There are a number of seasoned foreign entrepreneurs in Korea who can provide assistance and advice for your start-up visa application and offer tips on how to grow your business in Korea. The Seoul Global Business Center is one place you can start.
Research and Build your Knowledge Base
Be passionate, build your knowledge base. Learn what is happening with the start-up world not just locally but also across the rest of Asia as other start-up networks are constantly looking to Korea for opportunities. Learn who the players are, the local Venture Capitalists you need to approach, and the accelerators that are available to your business. Check out Tech in Asia and e27.
Leverage Cultural Experience & Network
Grow your network and go to events run by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and the Korea Australia Association. Each event presents another opportunity to meet potential partners, investors and mentors.
Follow the link for more information on the OASIS Visa Program.
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