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Published on June 06, 2024
Seattle Strengthens Economic Bond with South Korea Through Mayor Harrell's MOU With KOSMESource: City of Seattle

Seattle's tech and innovation scene is about to get a significant boost from overseas. Mayor Bruce Harrell, along with the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME), has inked a memorandum of understanding set to pave the way for Korean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups to more readily tap into the city's resources. At a time when global economic partnerships are increasingly vital, this agreement signed on Tuesday marks a strategic effort to enhance the presence of Korean businesses in the Seattle area.

According to a statement from the Seattle Mayor's office, the MOU targets several areas of business development including the exchange of information pertinent to the growth of Korean enterprises in Seattle and collaboration on seminars and conferences aimed at smoothing the U.S. market entry for these companies. Harrell's administration, determined to ensure that Seattle remains at the forefront of business innovation, sees this move as a continued effort to enrich the local economy and job market.

During a visit to KOSME headquarters in April 2024, Mayor Harrell laid the groundwork for this initiative, noted for underlining Seattle's capacity for fostering innovation. “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.” Harrell said. The mayor's proactive stance on relationships epitomizes the city's drive to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving global market.

Representatives from both Seattle and South Korea have hailed the MOU as a game-changer for business expansion and cultural exchange. “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,” KOSME President Seogjin Kang told the Mayor's Office website. All the while, the MOU is expected to usher in opportunities for mutual growth and prosperity between the involved regions.

The practical implications of the agreement extend into tangible support for businesses, as noted by 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.” Seo Eun-ji affirmed.

Brian Surratt, President & CEO of Greater Seattle Partners, shining a light on the existing foundation of Korean companies in Seattle and the sizable Korean American community, emphasized the region's dynamism and inclusivity. With over three decades of industry presence and a trade history topping $72 billion, the partnership bears witness to a commitment to shared economic progression and innovation. The new MOU with KOSME, Surratt confirms, is a significant step in nurturing an environment conducive to investment and job formation.

The 2024 International Leadership Mission to South Korea, which included Mayor Harrell and Seattle's business community leaders, has been instrumental in actualizing this undertaking. It reflects a collective international effort to adapt to a globalized business landscape where dialogues across borders translate into real economic advantages for the populations they serve.

For those interested in more details about KOSME and its role in supporting Korean SMEs, further information can be found on their website.

Seattle-Real Estate & Development