Economic reform is a consistent theme here at CrowdfundInsider. Allowing an environment where efficient allocation of resources can prevail is something all economies should target. Korea, which has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years. Usually spoken about along with the other emerging markets which have seen dramatic growth Korea is in the midst of a Presidential cycle which finishes in December of this year. It is interesting that Crowdfunding has been a consistent theme – at least for one candidate.
Long dominated by the “Chaebols” or large family dominated diversified industries (think Samsung), it is interesting that Crowdfunding has become part of the narrative of this forthcoming election. Presently there are three candidates running for the post of President; Moon Jai-in, Park Geun-Hye and Ahn Cheol-soo. Earlier this month Moon and Ahn decided to combine forces so as to better be prepared to defeat the ruling party’s chances vested with Park. Each candidate has highlighted the need for economic growth and support of small businesss but Ahn is the one who consistently incorporates Crowdfunding in his platform.
A business leader and former Dean at Seoul National University – he founded the anti virus company AhnLab. He continues to own a significant portion of this successful venture today. Ahn has spent considerable time in the United States where he received his MBA from Wharton. Recently he was speaking with Bill Gates to gain perspective on running a charitable foundation – of which he has indicated a desire to fund in the $100 millions of dollars.
Mr. Ahn is clearly a capable individual having experienced great success within the private sector and academia. He is clearly a person who wants to reform and bring a fresh approach to Korea. This narrative is even more compelling in a country which has been dominated so few, but very large companies. As reported in Korea, “Ahn’s top priority is introducing a variety of funding sources for start-ups and entrepreneurs by increasing the funds managed by state-run Korea Venture Investment and crowd-funding.” It is hard to imagine an administration in the United States taking a platform of incorporating Crowdfunding. Obviously this objective is part of a wider range of economic goals but the message is clear.
Crowdfunding and the potential inherent in crowdfunding to disrupt the traditional paths of finance for small firms is a message that grows every day. Korea is the 15th largest economy in the world – far behind the United States – but dynamic leadership open to change should not be limited to size. With sites like FundU hitting the scene in Korea and sparking a wave of change capturing the imagination of a Presidential candidate or two, momentum is only increasing for this new, innovative approach.