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Smart City Entrepreneurship (SCE) Project

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The development of smart cities will not only require academic research, but also the creation of new businesses to build and supply the technologies that comprise and enable the urban metastructure.  The SCE research project proposed within SIGC is structured around core elements applicable to all new entrepreneurs, such as the development of frameworks for assessing business opportunity, go-to-market strategies, venture capital financing, team building and organizational structure, startup corporate governance, and firm scaling.   

Specifically, the SCE project looks to adapt the “Entrepreneurial Opportunity Assessment Framework”, developed at Stanford University, to the smart city entrepreneurial ecosystem.  This framework has been used recently to guide the early-stage planning and development of some of Silicon Valley’s most viral products and startups.  Entrepreneurial challenges are structured into a set of research questions that stretch across disciplinary boundaries and, in this project, look to accelerate the broader adoption of smart city technologies and approaches globally.  The six components of the framework are;

(i) Why: Citizen Motivation – Is there a citizen need that is currently unfulfilled?  What is this “hair-on-fire” need?  Are “smart city” approaches reasonable to address this need?  Without motivation from a burning citizen need, smart city technologies will languish with little widespread adoption.

(ii) What: Solution – Is there an existing technological solution to solve this need?  Does a new technology need to be created?  Is there an existing business solution?  Is a new type of startup business, with a new business model, needed?  How will this solution integrate with existing city offerings?  What would be the compelling difference in citizen experience?  Is the benefit to citizens obvious?

(iii) Where: Market – Is this municipality the “right” city to implement this solution?  What social institutions, governance institutions, public entities, and private entities are in place to ensure successful implementation?  Over what timeline can this solution be implemented?

(iv) How: Business Model – Who will pay for this technology?  Will it be publically financed or privately financed?  Are the users and payers the same?  What other organizations are needed to make this financial model successful and sustainable?

(v) When: Trends – What new and enabling technologies make this the right time?  What new societal preferences or needs have emerged?  What new expectations have developed among citizens?  Why now (and not 5 years from now)?

(vi) Who: Team – What individuals, organizations, institutions, infrastructures, and processes are needed to make this solution real?  Is the city’s culture and foundation capable of adopting these solutions?

This research program will work with the existing venture capital ecosystem in Korea to construct a framework for educating and fostering Korean technology startups to pursue venture financing in both Korea and abroad (i.e. Silicon Valley).