Matriculation for SMEs in Suwon

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Thursday, December 10th, 2009
Signing Ceremony

Dr. Joel Momberger (left) and Mayor Kim Moon-soo (right) stand together with MOU signees at the Gyeonggi-UT Innovation Program signing ceremony on November 17

On November 17, I traveled down to the Ramada Hotel in downtown Suwon for a special event - the Gyeonggi-UT Innovation Program's Year 1 Signing Ceremony. This was a very important time for a dozen lucky companies in the Gyeonggi Province region. Some were celebrating new business relationships which the program had been able to get them, while others were celebrating their acceptance into this program for the 2010 year. The event was attended by Kim Moon-soo, the governor of Gyeonggi Province, and several officials from the University of Texas' IC2 technology commercialization program.

The Year 1 Signing Ceremony exhibited results that no one can deny. It was a simple procession of five Korean small or medium-sized businesses who had signed MOUs with partner companies as a direct result of the Gyeonggi-UT Innovation Program. The pairs, Korean and overseas, consisted of Wheel Corp with Visteon; Fastech and PBC Linear; AL Pallet and Dell; DGS and TRW Automotive; and Yumin and RF Code. Each pair of companies gave a short presentation about why they chose to partner up and then signed an MOU together to much applause.

DGS Co, Ltd. And TRW Automotive's pairing caught lots of interest. TRW Automotive is a global braking and safety company with US$15 billion in sales, according to its representative Vince Austin, the director of global braking systems, who represented his company there. He said that his company believes technology is the key to success, and as such invests US$1 billion annually in development. They chose DGS's braking system because it offered safer brakes. TRW, the 10th largest auto supplier globally, plans to work very closely with Gyeonggi-based DGS and its CEO, Kim Do-hui, to produce safer braking systems for all of its customers.

Another interesting matchup was Yumin and RF Code. Yumin produces thin-film sensors that can detect liquids, while RF Code produces a number of environmental sensors. However, RF Code had been looking in vain for a fluid sensor technology that worked simply and correctly. When they were introduced by Yumin by the Gyeonggi-UT Innovation program, they didn't waste any time. These two companies were a little ahead of the game, because their partnership had already resulted in a new sensor product that had already been sold to an international airline company. They hope to be able to sell this liquid sensor system to industries which are scared of water, like server farms and electronic equipment manufacturing companies.

Both Mayor Kim Moon-soo and the director of the program Dr. Joel Momberger told the companies how proud they were, and pinned great hopes on them for the future. In his speech, Mayor Kim also thanked the UT IC2 program for their help, and mentioned that when the program was first suggested, there was some doubt about its viability. But now, after two years running, he was wowed by its excellent success. Dr. Momberger said that he was excited to truly bring the world to Gyeonggido, and looked forward to seeing results from next year's program.

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