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Remarks by President Park Geun-hye at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2014

The Creative Economy and Entrepreneurship

 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
My warm greetings to all of you.

 

This is an opportune occasion to speak about “entrepreneurship” and the “creative economy.”  For in our post-crisis era, the global economy is charting a new course.  And many of the global leaders in this audience stand at the forefront of that journey.


Thanks to strong national responses coupled with close international coordination, the global economy is gradually escaping from the crisis.


Yet, countries still experience slow growth. High unemployment is weighing economies down. Income inequality continues to linger.


Making growth sustainable is another task all of us face.  As our planet eventually becomes home to 9 billion people, the need to deal with climate change and resource depletion has never been more compelling.


The global financial crisis has brought these issues to the fore. As a matter of fact, they are problems that have been with us well before the crisis. And they lay bare the limitations of our existing paradigm.
We must make growth sustainable. We must make growth inclusive. But piecemeal fixes will not do. Macroeconomic policies or labor policies under existing paradigms alone will not do.  What we need is nothing short of a paradigm shift.  What we now need - and need urgently - is an engine that takes us beyond these constraints; one that transforms the existing order and helps reshape the world.


Korea is seeking that engine in the creative economy.


Ladies and gentlemen,


Today, the brilliant idea, creative thought, or new technology of a single individual can help move the world and get nations going.


Since the industrial revolution, the wealth and happiness of nations - of individuals – had been marked by a material divide.  Recently, this has given way to a digital divide.  The future will be defined by a creative divide.


Whereas existing economies have focused on extracting mineral resources from the ground, creative economies seek to tap into the creativity of the human mind.
 

We in Korea believe that the only way to solving our problems is to creatively innovate our way out.  Hence, our pursuit of a creative economy vision as the new paradigm for driving our economy forward.


A creative economy harnesses the creative ideas of individuals and marries them with science and technology - with IT.  It promotes the convergence of different industries and the confluence of industry and culture.  And along the way, it creates new markets and new jobs.


Together with creativity, what is key to successfully realizing this vision is entrepreneurship.


Creativity begets innovative ideas. Entrepreneurship puts innovation into action.


Entrepreneurship is what translates an individual’s innovative ideas
and creative potential into the courage to start a new business.


We have a saying in Korea : “Beads are not considered jewelry unless they are woven together.”  Entrepreneurship is what weaves together the beads of creative ideas into new markets and into new jobs.


Companies must rise to the challenge of a new era.  In doing so, they shouldn’t be afraid of failure.  Entrepreneurial spirit in the 21st century must be indefatigable. 


To support the thriving of entrepreneurship, barriers that stand in its way must be removed.  We also need to build a financial system that supports entrepreneurship and spreads risk; a system that helps those that fail get back up.


Another key task is to build a creative economy eco-system, which spurs endless research and constantly churns out new ideas and value. The government needs to support this.
In most cases, it’s difficult to do due diligence on ideas.  And bringing ideas from the drawing board to the marketplace involves a high degree of uncertainty.  This makes it difficult for early-stage startups to raise funds. 


To ease this process, we must help transform how startups and venture companies finance capital : away from loans and towards investment capital including through angel investors.


Financing assistance should also be tailored to a company’s evolution.  Policies should include tax inducements and other steps aimed at encouraging M&As of venture companies.


Where businesses fail despite honest and hard work, their credit-worthiness should be restored promptly, so they could try again.


We need a climate where entrepreneurs can learn from their failure, bounce back and achieve success.


Korea is focusing on building an eco-system where entrepreneurship can flourish.  We will use this as a platform for fleshing out our vision of a creative economy.
 

Last October, we opened a “Creative Economy Town” website.  This online platform helps people with great ideas, who have done creative research and sometimes have the technology, but who have quit halfway through because of difficulties in making them marketable.
In the span of a few months, some four thousand creative ideas have already been put forward.  Success stories are beginning to appear, as patents are filed, prototypes are produced, and funds are raised to start businesses.


Here is the story of one young man.  He developed an application that directly translates any word on a mobile screen and offers the user learning opportunities through a vocabulary book. After submitting the idea to the K-Startup program, he was able – with the help of mentors - to launch a cloud-based language learning application. It now supports twelve languages. In just four months, this application was downloaded four hundred thousand times. Today, it is growing into a venture business.


Creative ideas such as these will help inject fresh vitality to creating jobs and growing the economy.  They will underpin our nation’s competitiveness. 


Starting this year, we will move offline and establish creative economy centers across Korea.  Once the system is fully up and running, anyone with a constructive idea will be able to get mentoring from experts and start a business.  Companies would not only be linked up with talented people, their competitive edge would also be enhanced through innovative ideas.
 

To reinforce these efforts, we will set up a “Creative Economy Joint Task Force.” This will include venture companies, SMEs, large companies as well as the government.  The private sector will be in the driver’s seat and lead the creative economy.


Furthermore, to facilitate startups and entrepreneurial risk-taking, we are moving to a negative list approach to regulation. We are drastically cutting red-tape that stands in the way of convergence and in the way of new industries.


We will cap the total economic impact of regulations.  Regulations will be relaxed across the board, except for those that are absolutely necessary.  A ministerial-meeting that I as president will be chairing will oversee these efforts.


Answers to tackling energy and environmental challenges will also be sought through the creative economy. We will develop policies to build “environment-friendly energy towns” as creative business models.


We will try new ways to site incineration plants and landfills, which local communities tend to reject.  Those communities will receive real benefits in the form of clean technology-based energy - energy that will come from biomass co-generation plants or energy storage systems.


We will also make government information more open and accessible for the general public.  This “Government 3.0” initiative can also serve as the connective tissue for a wide range of new businesses.


For example, the Korean Government made available its 3D maps, land registration maps and other information on the nation’s landspace.  One startup made use of that data and developed a service application that estimates the power capacity and profitability of locating solar equipment in various areas on the map.
Such data and ways to use our nation’s landspace will be made publicly available so that anyone could easily use them and develop many different services.  As a result, we expect to see some twelve thousand decent jobs created by 2017.


Ladies and gentlemen,
Wouldn’t it be nice to join Korea’s journey towards a creative economy?


Ladies and gentlemen!


I believe the creative economy needs to play an important role in the reshaping of our world - the theme of this year’s forum.


For it can offer new opportunities for dealing with diverse challenges that can arise in the course of that transformation.
 

Existing factors of production were the prerogatives of select classes or groups. In contrast, the power to imagine and think up ideas is universal to everyone. It is not conditioned by nationality, ethnicity, wealth or education.     


Unlike resources, creativity is non-depletable. Nor does it degrade the environment. It therefore unlocks opportunities for sustainable growth. Creativity is inherent to all people regardless of age, class, race or nationality. It therefore holds promise for inclusive growth.


The promotion of creativity will serve as the wellspring for overcoming unbalanced growth among nations and among different classes.  Every member of humanity has the potential to become key players in the success story of a creative economy.


This is why I believe the creative economy can offer a path to resolving the triple pressures of slow growth, high unemployment, and income disparities.  Through startups as well as the innovation of existing businesses, a creative economy can generate new engines of growth and can grow jobs.  There will also be less income inequality since anyone with a great idea can live out one’s dreams by starting a business.
 

Where there is concern and care for others, there we can see fresh ideas blossom.  It is when the desire to improve the human condition - to heal humanity’s pain - meets science and technology that solutions are produced... that suffering is eased... that the wellbeing of humanity is served.
 

Realizing the benefits and goals of a creative economy requires concerted global efforts.


Climate change and environmental challenges are global in nature. As such, the world must act as one in tackling them.  Solutions to these problems could be found through the imagination and entrepreneurial drive empowered by a creative economy.


I also hope to see nations that are custodians of the world’s cultural heritage amplify creative value through cultural sharing
and heart-to-heart exchange through the creative economy.


Culture has the power to connect - to connect people of different languages and different backgrounds.


The world is coming closer together as economic, social, cultural
and other barriers are ebbing away.  We see this happening with our own eyes.


We see how the culture of one nation is no longer confined to that country alone.  It is increasingly being shared and enjoyed beyond borders.


We use the expression Korean Wave to describe the widespread enthusiasm for Korean culture. Today, that wave is spreading rapidly across the globe.


When Korean music recently paired up with Youtube, it became a global sensation. K-POP, Korean dramas and films are being greeted here and there and creating new added value.
 

When the cultural values of each country are brought together with IT technology, the possibilities for generating greater added value become truly limitless. Indeed, this is another key attribute of the creative economy.


The companies that are welcomed around the world are those that have successfully combined various cultural content with new technology.


May this audience help draw up ideas that enable culture to serve as a vehicle - one that brings affection and joy around the world.


Ladies and gentlemen,


Since the global economic crisis, the Washington Consensus has not been regarded as sacred as it once was. The world beckons for something more - something that better meets the calling of our time.  But a new consensus has yet to emerge.


May this World Economic Forum lead to what we could call the “Davos Consensus:” the belief in entrepreneurship as the driving force of sustainable, inclusive growth.  Indeed, a gathering of global leaders such as this should aim to usher in a new era.  I believe you can do so by coming up with practical guidelines toward an economic, social, political and cultural climate that fosters entrepreneurship.


I also hope that Korea’s quest for a creative economy can offer the international community a practical, entrepreneurship-driven strategy for shaping a new future.


Our world currently faces countless challenges.  But to me, they seem no more than minor bumps on our path to a better world.


The indefatigable spirit of entrepreneurship can lift economies up... and lift countries up.


It is now up to us to rise to the challenge and not be afraid to fail.


Let us set our sights on making a better world.  And let us embark on this journey with tireless entrepreneurial spirit and through a creative economy.


Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your kind attention.  

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