“Find the demand from large corporations here” Is the government’s ‘OI Market’ a startup outsourcing platform?

‘Task subdivision and new program creation’ Take off the veil of open innovation support this year
Government's open innovation platform 'OI Market' connects demand from large corporations and startups
Innovation in name, but outsourcing in reality? Opportunities for startups, savings for large corporations

The government is strengthening public-private cooperation and open innovation to grow the venture and startup ecosystem. The Ministry of SMEs and Startups recently announced a notice to recruit demand companies for the ‘2024 Public-Private Partnership Open Innovation Support Project’. The plan is to expand the budget related to open innovation in the future, and launch a platform in March that will allow users to check the open innovation programs of large and mid-sized companies at a glance.

This year’s ‘Open Innovation’ support project

This year’s open innovation support project has a similar form to previous years, including a problem-solving type (Top-Down) and an autonomous proposal type (Bottom-Up). However, there were some changes in content and scale. First, in the case of the ‘problem-solving’ type, in which large and medium-sized companies present tasks that are difficult to solve on their own and startups solve them, the task areas have been further subdivided. Last year, there were only two problem-solving task areas: the Fourth Industrial Revolution and ESG (Environment, Society, and Governance).

However, this year, the task areas have increased to five, including △digital transformation △building a social safety net △environmental energy innovation △advancing growth engines △leading future innovation. The technologies and industries corresponding to each field have also become more detailed. For example, in the case of digital transformation, it is divided into artificial intelligence (AI), big data, next-generation mobile communication, cyber security, digital content, and service platform. The explanation is that the field was expanded by utilizing 5 fields of the small and medium-sized business strategic technology roadmap.

A new cluster-linked program has been established for the ‘autonomous proposal type’ project in which the government supports startups selected in the existing private open innovation program. Cluster linkage is a program that links startups and anchor companies within clusters based on innovation capabilities, such as national high-tech strategic industrial complexes, high-tech medical complexes, and special research and development zones, and aims for balanced development utilizing local innovation resources and capabilities.

OI market, revitalizing outsourcing under the guise of innovation?

In addition, the government plans to introduce a new open innovation platform ‘OI Market’. OI Market is an open innovation platform that helps demand companies and startups explore innovation partners. The Ministry of SMEs and Startups plans to play the role of a ‘platformer’ that promotes open innovation through the OI market in the future. The communication channel of the OI market is established as a ‘Web/2D’-based metaverse channel where members of public and private platforms can contact each other regardless of time and place.

The venture industry analyzes the OI market as a place for startups to explore outsourcing. A kind of ‘subcontracting structure’ has been established by the government in which large corporations outsource services to startups and the startups perform them. In fact, it is common to find cases where large corporations outsource work to startups specializing in specific fields. For example, in the IT industry, there are many cases where large companies propose difficult development projects, and startup developers take charge of outsourcing the projects through bidding.

Large companies can save manpower, time, and costs through outsourcing, and secure productivity by concentrating manpower on core businesses. In particular, in the current situation of rising labor costs, it is more advantageous to use project-oriented short-term manpower rather than hiring full-time workers. In the future, the government plans to help build collaborative relationships between demand companies and startups through the OI market when demand matches, and to provide government-level collaboration subsidies. This can be interpreted as an idea to appropriately supply project performance performance to startups and the necessary manpower to large corporations.

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