S. Korea ahead US in innovation-ridden growth: TechShop founder

October 21, 2015
Jim Newton, the founder of TechShop Inc., speaks at a press conference held in Daejeon on Oct. 21, 2015. (Yonhap)

Jim Newton, the founder of TechShop Inc., speaks at a press conference held in Daejeon on Oct. 21, 2015. (Yonhap)

DAEJEON (Yonhap) — Jim Newton, the founder of membership-based startup supporter TechShop Inc., said Wednesday that South Korea stays ahead of the United States in its acknowledgement of innovations, expecting the country’s creative economy policy to serve as a new growth engine.

“We do not have anything like that in the U.S. They do not have the vision,” Newton said during an interview, referring to the country’s state-led start-up incubator center.

U.S.-based TechShop provides startups and individuals with high-end facilities such as 3-D printers, significantly reducing the initial costs for individuals wishing to open businesses.

The company is also said to have fostered the growth of one-man firms in the U.S. market, and opened a new phase of the manufacturing industry, thus leading to the generation of new jobs.

TechShop has allowed individuals to set up businesses without having to depend on capital, as long as they are armed with innovative ideas.

South Korea has been making efforts to generate new business opportunities by merging different industries, especially with the ICT segment, and promoting the creative economy policy to foster start-ups.

Newton, however, said the creative economy centers should make efforts to further lower barriers to allow more players, not just business entities, to join the innovation-ridden growth.

It is positive that local conglomerates are making efforts to support the start-up centers, he said, noting that the scope of the global industry has changed, and smaller firms no longer have to worry about large-caps stealing ideas.

“That was the case back in 1960s,” Newton said. “They don’t steal ideas. They are interested in an open innovation.”

Newton said TechShop is currently making inroads overseas, with a branch in Paris set to open within this year. It’s the first division outside the United States.

“In Korea, we are in very, very early discussions,” Newton said. “The goal of our company is to bring tools of innovation to everyone. So we will push for the goal to South Korea.”