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THE INVESTOR
January 22, 2019
Big Reunion

Startups & Investors

WeWork out to find Korean creativity

  • PUBLISHED :December 26, 2018 - 15:21
  • UPDATED :December 26, 2018 - 16:28
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[THE INVESTOR] Content creators are big here in Korea. Park Mak-rye, a 72-year-old YouTuber, also known as Korea Granma, for example, was catapulted to stardom here a couple of years ago thanks to her online makeup tutorials full of witty and candid comments.

She has often said in media interviews that she thought her life was over when she turned 70. After starting the online makeup tutorials, however, she realized her life had just started.

With currently more than 600,000 followers, she was invited to Google’s annual I/O conference in March this year.

Park is one of the many in Korea who create contents to express their true self and communicate in their own way with others. Thanks to the widespread use of social media and online video platforms, a lot of people -- from first graders and job seekers to hairstylists and K-pop dancers -- here are garnering public attention with their creative ideas and contents.

In order to support individual content creators like Park, as well as artists, entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations and even established businesses, WeWork plans to hold the Creator Awards contest on Feb. 28 in Seoul, giving away up to US$360,000 to winners.


WeWork Korea General Manager Matthew Shampine. WeWork Korea

Related:
WeWork invites Korean creators to global competition

WeWork Korea General Manager Matthew Shampine said people in and out of Korea will be able to find out the creativity and passion of creators here, brimming with eye-catching ideas and great potential.

“The nation has some of the highest concentration of content makers whether it is about makeup videos, skincare, singing or dancing,” Shampine said in an interview with The Investor.

“What you are going to see from a lot of applicants at the upcoming Seoul Creator Awards is a lot of creativity.”

WeWork is receiving applications till Jan. 10 online, and will pick semi-finalists to the Seoul competition -- the first regional contest for 2019. Applicants need to submit a 90-second video clip that introduces their ideas and answer some questions. The competition is open to anyone, regardless of their membership status at WeWork.

“I would like applicants to be authentic when they talk about what they are working on or what they are passionate about. I think that is more important than anything else,” Shampine said.

After the Seoul event, a series of other regional awards will be held globally and the winners of each regional competition will be given a chance to participate in the final event, expected to take place in early 2020.

Unique Korean market

Vibrancy and fast innovation are something that makes the Korean market attractive, and they are what made Shampine to decide to settle down in the nation back in 2016, heading the co-working space firm’s local branch.
 
In addition to that, hallyu -- otherwise known as Korean Wave -- positively affects the perceptions of people abroad.

“Korea is one of the few countries that are the biggest exporters of both technology and culture,” said Shampine. 

“That is something very interesting for how the Creator Awards can be seen when we talk about it here.”

The nation is home to a number of internet, electronics and automotive giants -- such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Hyundai Motor Group and Naver -- while K-pop bands, like BTS and Blockpink, and Korean dramas are enjoying immense popularity overseas.

In a bid to grab a bigger opportunity in foreign markets as established businesses often do, startups in Korea tend to think of going global at an early stage, which he said could help them take a big leap.

“Going global is how you raise significant investments and become a big company both domestically and overseas,” said Shampine, mentioning Viva Republica, an operator of mobile cash transfer service TOSS. Viva Repubica, which has become a unicorn recently, plans to enter the Southeast Asian market.

“Creator Awards is a great way to jumpstart some of that stuff,” he added.

Creators can participate in three categories -- performing arts, nonprofit and business venture awards.

The winners in the performing arts and nonprofit award segments receive up to US$72,000 while those in the business venture sector can win up to US$360,000.

Since March 2017, WeWork has held 15 regional Creator Awards contests in different cities, including London, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Sao Paulo and Shanghai, rewarding more than 200 winners with millions of dollars. The events attracted more than 15,000 applications and 36,000 attendees.

WeWork runs 400 sharing offices in 99 cities, accommodating more than 400,000 members. It has 11 locations in Korea, including Jongro Tower and Seoul Square. It recently announced its plan to launch the Seomyeon location in the southeastern port city of Busan in April -- its first office outside Seoul in Korea.

Click on the following link to apply for the award:(https://we.co/applyseoul)

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com

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