President Lee vows support for youths in launching startups

January 10, 2011 10:02 am 

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, Jan. 10 — President Lee Myung-bak vowed Monday to provide more institutional support for younger people here seeking to launch their own startups in the knowledge-based sector, saying he hopes that South Korea will produce world-renowned business leaders like Mark Zuckerberg, an American computer scientist who founded the social networking service Facebook.

"Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook at the age of 20 and nurtured it into a globally renowned social networking service. To nurture such pioneers in Korea, the government will create an open environment where young people can take on new challenges," Lee said in his biweekly radio address.

South Korea is known as one of the world's most Internet-savvy nations, but most of its younger people still prefer stable and high-paying jobs like lawyers and medical doctors to venturing into their own businesses.

"But in the 21st century, I hope to see more and more young people express their creativity and challenge the global arena to seize greater opportunities," Lee said.

The president, who was once the CEO of a construction firm himself, branded South Korea's contemporary youths as the "G-20 Generation." South Korea played host to the G-20 economic summit last November, a show of the country's enhanced standing in the international community. "The G-20 Generation is characterized by a challenging spirit based on positive thinking and by a capacity to enjoy what they do," Lee said. "Given their creativity and pioneering spirit, I believe our youngsters have more than enough ability to achieve their goals."

A positive sign is that the number of one-man companies in the nation's knowledge service field increased to 230,000 last year from 200,000 in 2009, he added.

Lee stressed the future of South Korea depends on the G-20 Generation and he promised to expand infrastructure for startups in the information and technology sector.

"The Republic of Korea has now embarked on a journey toward a Global Korea based on an open door policy and cooperation with a global network," Lee said. "Our young generation, a generation I like to call the G20 generation, will be the leaders of such a Global Korea." (PNA/Yonhap)

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