South Korean nonprofit joins Maryland program to bolster foreign investment


A South Korean nonprofit is the newest partner in Maryland’s program that seeks to attract international businesses to the state by offering resources such as mentorship and a temporary location to set up shop.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who is in the midst of a 12-day Asia trade promotion trip, announced Monday that the Korean Small and Medium Enterprises and Startups Agency (KOSME) will join the state’s Global Gateway Initiative, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

This partnership will couple Maryland’s Global Gateway program with KOSME’s Global Youth Startup Academy, which seeks to assist up-and-coming technology companies that are looking to reach overseas markets.

The governor said that KOSME — a nonprofit funded by the South Korean government — is the program’s second partner, and its first from Asia. Ireland’s Guinness Enterprise Centre became the program’s first partner in June. 

The governor announced an initial $2 million investment in the Global Gateway Initiative earlier this year at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. 

KOSME and Maryland signed their first cooperative agreement in 2021 where Maryland pledged to support Korean businesses in green and high-tech sectors that were looking to do business in the U.S. 

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Now as a member of the Global Gateway program, KOSME will have access to educational programs, mentors, networking events and the ability to locate in Maryland for up to three months at an office or co-working space. 

Maryland’s program also allows foreign companies to test the market at an affordable rate and provides one-on-one counseling through the state’s business registration process. South Korea is the state’s 12th largest trading partner abroad. 

As part of the partnership, KOSME will in turn offer physical space and mentoring to eligible Maryland companies interested in investing in Korea. It will also promote Maryland as a viable business location to other Korean investors. 

“KOSME will spare no [effort] to help emerging companies from Maryland smoothly enter the Korean market, using the expertise and experiences in supporting startups and [small and medium enterprises] KOSME has accumulated since its establishment,” KOSME President Kim Hak-Do said in the news release. 

Mr. Hogan met with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol last Friday as part of a trip that will also take his delegation to Japan. 

That same day, he also announced that the state’s Department of Commerce is opening a foreign trade office in the country, and that Korean pharmaceutical company UNDBIO is opening a research and development lab in Rockville. 

The trip concludes this Saturday. Mr. Hogan is married to Yumi Hogan, a first generation Korean-American.


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