August 5, 2020

Aalto Startup Center boosts South Korean healthtech potential

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Finland’s cost-effective healthcare system and innovative society provide an excellent launching pad for healthtech startups.
Aalto University

Finnish business accelerator Aalto Startup Center has teamed up with the Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development (KISED) to launch the Korean Startup Center.

The goal of the collaboration is to aid market entry into the Nordics and Europe for Korean health and wellbeing technology companies. The two-stage programme sees 18 Korean startups participating in a week-long introductory phase and the 10 most suitable ones selected for an additional 10 weeks in the programme.

Both stages are set to be organised at Aalto Startup Center in Otaniemi, Espoo, with an online alternative in place should the global pandemic scupper these plans.

“At Aalto, startups have become a culture,” said Edward Lee, the director of KISED’s global startup division. “Almost half of Finnish startups were born at Aalto University, in its ecosystems. We are fascinated by Aalto’s sustainable startup culture, and KISED wants to co-operate with Aalto University to help [Korean] startups enter the global market.”

A healthy future

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The programme is a pilot project with the intention of making it a permanent fixture.

Aalto University

According to Marika Paakkala, the head of Aalto Startup Center, Finland’s cost-effective healthcare system and innovative society stand it in excellent stead for health-minded innovators.

“Our open-minded ecosystem is built for healthtech startups,” she commented. “In Finland, comprehensive health registers, availability of electronic medical records, population-based biobanks and innovation-friendly legislation offer a fantastic setting for research.”

The initiative is seen as an important steppingstone for Korean tech-based startups, which registered record-breaking 25 per cent year-on-year growth in venture investments in 2019.

“KSC Startup Center will pave the way for the global scale-up of Korean startups,” said Park Young-sun, the South Korean minister in charge of SMEs and startups. “With the transition into a digital economy, I sincerely believe that our promising ICT-based startups will be the essence in the post-COVID-19 era and will further develop with the help of KSC.”

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