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Municipal government / Startups

Maryland wants to ease US entry for South Korean startups

The agreement between top state leaders and the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency is looking to offer Korean startups a landing point in Maryland.

Officials including Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan sign an MOU on Sept. 20. (Photo courtesy of Maryland Department of Commerce)
A new agreement between Maryland and South Korea is focused on helping startups find a foothold in the U.S.

On Monday, Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan signed a memorandum of understanding with Hakdo Kim, president of the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME).

Through this agreement, the two entities will work together to support Korean tech and environmentally focused small and medium-sized businesses, as well as startups, as they enter the American market. That could bring potential for the companies to join the Maryland Department of Commerce’s soft landing program, which connects companies looking to explore the U.S. with offices and resources at local startup spaces.

The entities will also share resources in industry areas like aerospace, biohealth, cybersecurity and renewable energy.

“Collaborating with the Republic of Korea and KOSME not only benefits both of our regions, but it further solidifies Maryland as the prime destination for entering the United States,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement. Hogan also signed the agreement prior to the meeting.

It builds on existing ties between the state and South Korea. Maryland Commerce is currently leading a virtual trade mission to the county. Even before that, KOSME inked a partnership with Rockville-based BioHealth Innovation that’s focused on supporting  biomedical companies. In 2019, Howard County’s Maryland Innovation Center set up its own soft landing space with Korean government agency Born2Global.

“I believe that the MOU will be a great opportunity to expand the partnership to green and high-tech fields and promote regional innovation for South Korea and the state of Maryland,” Kim said in a statement.

The state has a number of trade agreements with other countries that are designed to support tech, cyber and life sciences companies. During Hogan’s administration, the state has signed such pacts with Australia, the Netherlands, Great Britain’s Midlands region and Israel.

For local tech companies looking to go international, it also offers ExportMD grants to companies that help with international marketing costs. We recognize familiar startup names like ClearMask, Sonavi Labs and CoapTech in the latest batch of recipients.

Companies: State of Maryland

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