Startups partner with KOICA for innovative solutions in developing countries
- KOICA holds ceremony on Nov. 22 to share outcomes of its 2022 Creative Technology Solution (CTS) program, which allows startups to offer innovative solutions in developing countries and expand into overseas markets
- 93 projects have been implemented in 20 countries since 2015, mobilizing 46.3 billion won ($34.1 million) in development finances
Due to growing interest in ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) management, public and private sectors are increasingly collaborating to at once enhance development effectiveness and meet the business needs of corporations. Amid this trend, with the support of KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency), several Korean startup companies are poised to enter developing country markets with creative ideas and innovative technology.
Korea’s representative development cooperation agency KOICA held a ceremony to share the outcomes of its 2022 Creative Technology Solution (CTS) program, which involves collaboration with startup companies, on Nov. 22 at the IVEX Studio in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province.
KOICA’s CTS program applies the outstanding technologies of startup companies in solving social problems in developing countries, while allowing budding enterprises to enter overseas markets. The ceremony held Tuesday aimed to promote the outcomes of KOICA’s CTS program and expand opportunities for investment.
KOICA’s CTS program was created in 2015 with the aim of benchmarking innovative startup support projects in developed countries. As of this year, a total of 75 partner companies are implementing Creative Technology Solutions in 20 countries to enhance health, education, environment, and digital capacities. In this process, KOICA attracted 46.3 billion won ($34.1 million) in development finance, while contributing to enhancing the quality of life of an estimated 3 million people in developing countries. Any company under 10 years since its founding can apply for the program, and receives support of up to 500 million won ($369 thousand) upon selection.
The outcome-sharing ceremony this year was attended by impact investment company MYSC and some 200 employees of Korean startups. At the ceremony, KOICA introduced information on its CTS program and shared best practices.
Kai-i Company, selected as KOICA’s CTS partner last year, plans to contribute to enhancing the dental health of children in Hanoi, Vietnam through the distribution of a dental management platform. The company carried out a pilot research project with Hanoi Medical University and local primary school students this year, in preparation of entering the local market.
Director Song Ji-eun of Kai-i Company said, “Improving the dental habits of youths can lead to changes in personal and social health and well-being. This is the idea upon which we began our company. We aim to achieve the three goals of finding new markets, proving new technology, and development cooperation.”
Gongsaeng is a company that supplies custom-made prosthetics for those damaged by unexploded ordnances in Laos to support the self-reliance of persons with disabilities. The company also transfers technical knowledge on 3D printing to allow local production of prosthetics.
CTO Kim Sang-hee of Gongsaeng said, “While other programs or research tasks concentrate on technical development and therefore pose limits on application in the field, KOICA’s CTS program allowed us to carry out our business in full consideration of the local situation.”
Wiplat, a company that combines AI and cloud technology to develop intelligent water leak management systems, also presented its best practices. Director Kim Ji-seon of Wiplat said, “We are experiencing some 40 trillion won in economic losses worldwide due to water leakages. There is a lack of experts in developing countries who can find leaks and offer solutions. With Wiplat equipment, it is possible to fix water leaks quickly and easily.”
Some of KOICA’s key CTS partners include Dot, the company that developed a Braille watch for people with visual impairments and won prizes at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and 2023 International CES. Dot participated in the ceremony this year and garnered much attention through panel discussions. The education-tech company Enuma also received support from KOICA’s CTS program and developed an educational app called Kitkit School, and is expanding its business to Indonesia and Malaysia.
This year, KOICA eased conditions for companies in applying for the CTS program to encourage the development of innovative and outstanding business ideas. KOICA is also cooperating in areas such as impact investment and ESG management to meet corporate social needs. For more information on KOICA’s CTS program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo 1. Kai-i Company, a Creative Technology Solution (CTS) program partner of KOICA, implements dental health-related projects in Vietnam.
Photo 2. The outcome-sharing ceremony for KOICA’s 2022 Creative Technology Solution (CTS) program was held on Nov. 22 at the IVEX Studio in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province.
Photo 3. Director General Lee Sang-back of KOICA’s Department of Corporate Partnership delivers welcoming remarks at the outcome-sharing ceremony for KOICA’s 2022 Creative Technology Solution (CTS) program on Nov. 22 at the IVEX Studio in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province.