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Mayor Harrell Signs New Agreement to Support Investment Attraction and Job Creation with Korean Businesses and Start-Ups in Seattle

Seattle – On Tuesday, Mayor Bruce Harrell signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the City of Seattle and Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME) to facilitate investment attraction and job creation with Korean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups in Seattle.

“Seattle is a hub for global innovation, and we must ensure that our city remains competitive in the world economy to attract new business enterprises that strengthen our local economy and create jobs,” said Mayor Harrell. “Our region has a long and proud history of collaboration and partnership with South Korea, along with our vibrant Korean and Korean American community who call Seattle home. This new agreement with KOSME will help foster connections to promote opportunity, good jobs, and mutual growth between our two regions.”

The MOU strengthens collaboration around business development, including:

  • Sharing information useful for the growth of Korean SMEs in Seattle and exchanging information related to R&D, marketing, and legal regulations SMEs are facing in Seattle.

  • Arranging seminars, meetings, and/or conferences for technological innovation and successful expansion of Korean SMEs and startups into the U.S. market.

  • Sharing information useful to business in Seattle should they want to enter the Korean market or partner up with Korean SMEs and/or startups.

  • Cooperating with each other to enable startups from both countries to expand into Seattle and Korea.

“South Korea is the center of growth for innovative startups and small-medium sized enterprises in Asia. Our K Startups Center is strategically located in Seattle due to the City’s reputation and ecosystem for innovation,” said Seogjin Kang, President of KOSME. “This landmark agreement with the City will help bring even more Korean enterprises to the region. We are grateful to Mayor Bruce Harrell for his visit to KOSME headquarters in April 2024 and for his leadership in this new partnership.”

“Seattle, renowned for its tech-friendly environment, offers an ideal landscape for Korean SMEs seeking entry," said Seo Eun-ji, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Seattle. "The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea operates the Small and Medium Business Support Consultative Body, aimed at providing comprehensive assistance to Korean SMEs venturing into Seattle. Through today's agreement, we anticipate fostering closer cooperation with the City of Seattle and KSC to facilitate this endeavor.”

“Greater Seattle thrives as a dynamic and inclusive community, enriched by the presence of over 30 Korean companies and a vibrant Korean American population exceeding 78,000,” said Brian Surratt, Greater Seattle Partners President & CEO. “Our robust partnership with Korea, one of our top three trading partners with a decade-long trade volume surpassing $72 billion, is a testament to our shared commitment to economic growth and innovation. This new MOU with KOSME is a milestone in our journey towards fostering a fertile ground for investment and job creation, ensuring that Seattle remains at the forefront of global business development and a welcoming home for Korean SMEs and startups.”

The agreement is a direct action of the 2024 International Leadership Mission to South Korea led by Mayor Harrell, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and Greater Seattle Partners.

About Korea SMEs and Startups Agency:

The Korea SMEs & Startups Agency (KOSME) is a non-profit, government-funded organization established to implement government policies and programs for the sound growth and development of Korean SMEs.

To achieve its purpose, KOSME operates financial and non-financial programs for SMEs. Through financial programs, KOSME provides financing for SMEs to expand operations, develop new products and convert their business structures. With advisory programs including consulting, training, marketing and global cooperation programs, KOSME supports SMEs to enhance their global competitiveness.

KOSME operates the K-Startup Center (KSC) in downtown Seattle.

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