Last week, Google announced that Seoul will be the site of the company’s next innovation and start-up “Campus,” and its first ever in Asia. The new location will open in 2015, joining a network of Campuses around the globe, including London, Tel Aviv, and the soon-to-open Warsaw and Sao Paulo Campuses. Seoul was chosen because of the city’s - and Korea’s - rapidly growing technology start-up scene, which is full of entrepreneurs looking to make a splash in the global tech market.
Google’s Campus program is designed to foster innovation as entrepreneurial minds are able to interact and learn from each other, both within the local Campus network and through connections made to the other Campuses worldwide. Campus Seoul will function as an “accelerator” to help start-up companies get off the ground with the input and experience of those who have already gone through the process.
Campus Seoul will host programs that Google has previously rolled out elsewhere, including Campus for Moms and Campus EDU. Campus for Moms is a baby-friendly program that allows entrepreneurial mothers to attend sessions and access resources without having to find childcare, which can be a very expensive prospect in Seoul. Some of Google’s full-time staff, called Googlers, will also be available at the new Seoul location for mentoring and office hours.
Bridgette Beam, the Google executive that announced Campus Seoul, noted that because Google itself began as a small California start-up, helping other entrepreneurs and start-up communities to succeed “is part of [Google’s] DNA.” Through previous initiatives that the company has supported in Korea, they observed that the innovation environment there has improved dramatically over the last few years. While some of the previous programs had given a few teams the chance to pitch their ideas to Silicon Valley investors, the new Campus is likely to facilitate many more international technology partnerships and investments.