The Ministry of SMEs and Startups, led by Minister Oh Young-ju, inaugurated the Startup Korea Fund on Wednesday during a ceremony at Hotel Naru Seoul MGallery. The fund, announced last August during the "Startup Korea Strategy Meeting" chaired by the President, aims to collect over 2 trillion won ($1.6 billion) between 2024 and 2027 to empower venture and startup companies as the main drivers of the country’s economic growth.

The Startup Korea Fund represents a landmark collaboration between the government, major corporations, financial institutions, and small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs). This symbolic fund will primarily focus on innovative technologies that can expand into global markets, emphasizing South Korea's commitment to nurturing its startup ecosystem.

In an innovative approach to funding, the government plans to reduce its direct financial contributions to 30% while leveraging private capital, which will account for 70% of the fund. This structure is intended to attract more private investment and amplify the fund’s impact, marking a significant shift from traditional government-led funding programs where public contributions typically hovered around 60%.

During the fund's first year, 21 private investors are set to contribute over 300 billion won, supplemented by more than 200 billion won from government finances. This combined effort will create a venture fund estimated at around 800 billion won.

Companies like Hanwha Total Energies and Kakao Mobility are among the seven enterprises participating in a venture fund for the first time, inspired by the opportunities the Startup Korea Fund presents. Additionally, the investment scale for other companies has expanded significantly in comparison to 2023.

Minister Oh Young-ju expressed high expectations for the initiative, stating, "The Startup Korea Fund is designed to shift initial financial risks to the government, thereby enabling private sectors to invest more boldly." He added, "Korean ventures and startups have already demonstrated their global market potential by securing the most awards at this year’s CES. With this fund, we anticipate facilitating easier and more vigorous investments from more companies and financial institutions."