South Korea’s entrepreneurial spark has yet to ignite

The Wall Street Journal has noted that South Korean President Park Geun-hye is pledging to boost growth by developing a “creative economy” through growth in the underdeveloped service sector and by encouraging entrepreneurship.

However, progress has been slow. In a recent report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said that young South Koreans are wary of starting their own businesses because of a fear of failure in a society that prizes secure jobs at blue-chip companies and in government. Training for entrepreneurs is also weak, although new programs are planned for 2018.

Government regulation, particularly in the service sector, is another obstacle to entrepreneurship as they impede the creative destruction needed to boost entrepreneurship and low levels of productivity.

Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute’s Global Entrepreneurship Index for South Korea did pick up after Ms. Park became president in 2013, but has since leveled off. It remains below the OECD average and far below the U.S. index.

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