SMBA head nominee-startups

SEOUL, March 21 (Yonhap) -- The nominee to head the government body in charge of small and medium enterprises vowed on Thursday to support startups by promising young South Koreans as Seoul seeks to create more jobs amid an economic slowdown.

Han Jung-wha, President Park Geun-hye's choice to lead the Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA), said he will strengthen assistance for entrepreneurs in raising funds and exploring overseas markets to facilitate startups and ensure their success.

"It is necessary to create conditions in which (entrepreneurs) can try again after a failure," the dean of Seoul's Hanyang University Business School told Yonhap News Agency by phone, noting that young and professional South Koreans are generally unwilling to take risks.

Han, who earned a masters degree in business administration and a doctoral degree in business administration from the University of Georgia, said he will craft policies to encourage young people to set up businesses.

His comments illustrated the challenges facing Asia's fourth-largest economy where many college graduates opt to join Samsung Electronics Co., Hyundai Motor Co. and other corporate giants over venture startups.

A business failure carries a social stigma in South Korea, one of the factors that many say discourage promising people to take risks and start their own businesses.

Out of the 74,162 firms created for the full year of 2012, South Koreans under the age of 30 set up 3,510 of them, accounting for 4.7 percent of the total, an official of the Small and Medium Business Administration said, citing court statistics.

Han also vowed to ensure fair business practices between smaller firms and large companies.

Small and medium companies account for 99 percent of all enterprises and 88 percent of all employees in South Korea where family-controlled conglomerates, known as chaebol, dominate net profits and market capitalization.

The nomination came three days after the former nominee to head the Small and Medium Business Administration withdrew his nomination due to a law that required him to place his corporate holdings in a "blind trust" during his time in office.

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