- ‘Maker Space i7’ Opens on International Campus March 16, 2021
Incheon’s first and only professional Maker Space established in the international city of Songdo
On February 23, 2021, the ‘Opening Ceremony of Maker Space i7’ was held at the International Campus of Yonsei University, Incheon, Korea. It was attended by some 25 guests, including Seoung Hwan Suh, President of Yonsei University, Park Namchoon, Mayor of the Incheon Metropolitan City, and Dong-ju Im, Chairman of the Industry and Economy Committee, Incheon Metropolitan Council. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease, the size of the event was minimized while following quarantine rules such as wearing a mask, hand infection, and heat check at the entrance of the event.
The ‘Maker Space i7,’ newly established on the International Campus, was completed at the end of December 2020 as part of the ‘Maker Space Construction and Operation Project,’ which has been promoted ambitiously since last year. The main focus of this project is to establish a Maker Space ecosystem nationwide by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups to promote creative maker activities and spread the maker movement. Only in 2020, the first year when the project was selected, a total of 1.9 billion won was invested in Maker Space i7, including 1.5 billion won from the government, 200 million won from Incheon City, and 200 million won from our university.
This business is characterized by the division of types according to roles between a general lab, a space for creative activities that is close to life, and a specialized lab, which is a specialized creative space connected to startups. ‘Maker Space i7’ is a specialized lab that is opened to actively support startups facing monetization with the vision of ‘commercializing technology that improves the quality of life.’ The ‘Maker Space i7,’ along with the ‘Design Factory Korea (DFK),’ a startup support center built on the campus in 2014, will be used to provide comprehensive support for products and services of startups that are necessary to enter the global market.
To this end, it will provide customized support for each stage by using the ‘Innovative Life 7’ strategy consisting of seven factors, namely △organization △specialization △commodification △digital/design conversion △automation △commercialization △diversification. In particular, it will offer surveys for overseas locals, in-depth expert interviews, usability evaluations for potential local customers, and entry into global open markets.
‘Maker Space i7,’ which started its pilot operation in the middle of last year, is located in Songdo International City, making it easier for domestic and foreign companies to exchange with each other. Up until now, it has conducted a startup support programs such as i-NEXT 7 boot camp and Maker Space-based social innovation idea contest for (preliminary) founders, as well as holding workshops for general lab personnel.
In addition, it implements manufacturing innovation construction projects with universities, metropolitan transportation networks, industrial complexes, and international organizations located nearby, making it an economic hub for manufacturing innovation in the era of the 4th industrial revolution. Specifically, 7 universities and researchers nearby, some 6,800 companies in the Namdong Industrial Complex, and 52 overseas-invested companies in Songdo as potential customers, are located in the nearby area, based on the transportation infrastructures, such as the 2nd Gyeongin Expressway (Gyeonggi), GTX (Great Train eXpress; Seoul), Incheon Airport (overseas), and the Incheon Metro Line 1 (Incheon).
The fact that the Ministry of SMEs and Startups finally selected the city of Incheon as a startup park establishment project site in 2019 was beneficial in laying the foundation for the ‘Songdo Venture Valley.’ Above all, the first year project called ‘Scale Up Challenge Lab,’ which is operated to support startups in Incheon in cooperation with Incheon Startup Park and 4 universities including Yonsei was also successfully completed at the end of last year.
Meanwhile, the Yonsei International Campus was selected for not only the ‘Industry-Academic Cooperation Complex Project’ managed by the Ministry of Education and the ‘Project for the Operation of a Korean NIBRT Program-Establishment of a Bioprocessing Training Center’ jointly managed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, but also is planning to seek business expansion within the university-led ‘Industry-Academic-Research-Hospital Bio Cluster’ ahead of the opening of the Songdo Severance Hospital (tentative).
President Suh said during the opening ceremony on February 23, “The Maker Space launched today will pursue a life-oriented manufacturing innovation that innovates itself, and will become the best industry-academic cooperation model harmonizing local communities, companies, and universities.”
“I’ve been working hard so far to create a city where people can freely start a business in Incheon since making a pledge,” said Mayor Park of Incheon. “I believe that Yonsei University will play a pivotal role and Incheon will do its best to play its part.”
※ Maker Space: A space specializing in creation and startup support, equipped with advanced digital equipment that is needed for realizing ideas such as 3D printers.