By Lee Kyoung Mi and Yoon Sojung
President Moon Jae-in on May 14 said that "We will vigorously push ahead with the K-unicorn project to help domestic startups evolve into global business unicorns."
In a meeting with leading young executives in the startup sector in Seoul's Gangnam-gu District, he said he will continue to carry out policy to support young startup leaders in a bold and speedy manner.
A unicorn company is defined as an unlisted startup valued at USD 1 billion or more.
The meeting was attended by 21 venture and startup entrepreneurs included on the Forbes list of the top Asian entrepreneurs under 30. President Moon held this meeting to encourage them and listen to their difficulties.
He praised startups that played major roles in containing the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) such as Coronamap and Maskmap, as well as those that developed quick diagnostic kits, saying, "We are in difficult circumstances, but we can usher in new opportunities for startups if we prepare properly for the post-COVID-19 era."
"Before growing into global business unicorns, startups must overcome numerous obstacles such as the 'Valley of Death' and the 'Darwinian Sea,'" the president added. "We will identify promising startups and provide them with support packages to help with loans, guarantees and the pioneering of new markets."
"The government will continue to provide support until innovative ideas can be commercialized and stand tall on the world stage."
To help venture startups, he pledged emergency financial support worth KRW 2.2 trillion by year's end, including special low-interest loans.