British Council Creative Economy

Menu Show search

25 January 2015

Korea/UK Catalyst

In late November 2014 the British Council, Creative England and the Korea Foundation partnered to give ten UK creative and social entrepreneurs the opportunity to participate in a week-long development and cultural exchange programme in South Korea.

Technological development in Korea is well-known internationally and it is well represented on the global stage by companies such as Samsung and LG. Its technological infrastructure is unrivalled being the most connected country with the fastest connection speeds in the world. In fact, Google is opening Campus Seoul in 2015 following London and Tel Aviv. Korea is moving from a fast follower to front runner. 

New ideas about the development of the creative and social economy in Korea are high on the agenda and are widely discussed at government, business and public level.  Korea’s cultural content (TV drama, popular music and film) enjoys great popularity and influence across East Asia and beyond. Hence, Korea’s success in the creative industries is seen as a model for development by many East Asian countries.

The programme provided an opportunity to find out more about Korea’s digital, creative and social innovations and explore potential collaborations with the businesses and organisations involved in these sectors. Throughout the week the group met with Korean entrepreneurs, visited cutting-edge organisations leading innovation in Korea and had the opportunity to meet with some of Korea’s big players in the creative, digital and social sectors.

Tom Metcalfe, Design Consultant and Co-founder of new startup rain cloud, was tasked with running a day long innovation lab for the UK and Korean entrepreneurs during the programme. You can read his insights into what is happening in the startup scene in Korea here.

Meet the participants! 

Alison Fullerton, Head of Development at Wasps Studios one of the largest creative space providers in the UK, providing affordable studios to 900 artists and 65 arts charities, social enterprises and creative businesses at 17 buildings across Scotland. 

Carolyn Hassan, Founder and Director at Knowle West Media Centre,  an arts and media centre (built of straw bales) that delivers a wide range of socially engaged arts projects that contribute to a wider understanding of the role of the arts in economic, social and cultural regeneration. 

Peter Town, Founding Advisor & Investor at Commonplace, a crowd sourced transparent consultation tool for planners, developers and communities

Simon Fox, Designer, Coder and Founder of Playlab London, a company dedicated to making and measuring positive social impact.

Samiya Parvez, Co-founder and COO of Andiamo, a company which builds healthcare solutions for children with disabilities and long term conditions. 

Benjamin Gibbs, CEO and Founder of Flowify,  a B2B software company who have developed Sofia, a personal assistant application to automate front-of-house service in hospitality, increase revenue and reduce costs.

Emily Forbes,  Co-founder or Seenit, a video collaboration platform working with brands and organisations helping them co-create video with fans, employees and experts. You can also watch the video produced by Seenit above!

Ian Richardson, Business Development Director at Carbon Digital Ltd, one of the leading production, VFX & post-production companies in the UK

Jacqueline Lam, Founder of, an online fashion platform that enables women to shop at their favourite stores in one place with one basket and with one payment. 

Mike Delves, CEO of Yippee Entertainment, a Digital Entertainment company focused on creating mass-market intellectual properties and helping clients maximise the potential of their brands or licences in the video games space.

Thank you to Bethnal Green Ventures for nominating Samiya, Peter and Simon and to Creative England for selecting Benjamin, Emily, Ian, Mike and Jacqueline.