Youth unemployment in South Korea hit a record high in 2017, topping out at over 22 percent, and has become a critical concern in the country. The Korean government has said that the epidemic could have a "catastrophic" effect if left unaddressed.
JoongAng Daily has reported that, as part of a wider effort by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance to decrease the unemployment rate to below 8 percent over a four-year period, a vacant government building in Western Seoul will be repurposed into an education hub and support center for new startups. Roughly 90 percent of new jobs between 2012 to 2014, a period that saw employment growth, were created by young companies in their first year.
According to the ministry:
"A considerable number of jobs in Korea are created by start-ups. Start-ups by young people will play a key role in producing sustainable jobs and innovation."
Blockchain technology and AI are expected to be among the core focuses of the hopefully 300 nascent companies to be housed in the new industrial park. Many in South Korea are looking to these cutting-edge avenues to carry the economy into the future, as reflected in comments by Dunamu CEO Lee Seok-woo at the Smart Finance Conference on April 19:
"Blockchain will be an innovative driving force that will completely change South Korea's startup industry."
In order to be eligible for inclusion, business founders must be younger than 39 years old. The government hopes that the location of the hub will also be attractive to young workers, as it will occupy the Mapo District near several universities.
At the onset, the Korean government plans to set aside 100 million won (nearly $92,500 at press time) for the project, but hopes to ramp up backing to 10 trillion (over $9.2 billion) by 2020.
In similar news, it emerged on April 22 that the municipal government of the Chinese city of Shenzhen will back a blockchain investment fund initially worth some 500 million yuan (just under $80 million), with 40 percent of that money coming from the Shenzhen Angel Investment Guidance Fund. Earlier this month, it was announced that the city of Hangzhou was launching a so-called "blockchain industrial park" to provide financial, academic, and other kinds of support to blockchain firms.