SEOUL, President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday vowed increased support for venture firms as the key driver of innovation and growth.

Moon has been putting an increasing emphasis on regulatory reforms and new technology businesses recently as his trademark income-led growth policy apparently failed to spur employment and consumption last year.

During a briefing on venture business policies, he noted countries across the world are competing fiercely to take the lead in new innovative businesses and that the importance of venture firms will only grow in the so-called fourth industrial revolution driven by new technologies and convergences.

"Venture companies are setting the course of the global economy," Moon said in the meeting at a Seoul start-up support center also attended by some 100 venture business heads.

"In the era of the fourth industrial revolution, convergence and speed, innovation and challenging attitude are important. Venture companies will decide industrial development and economic growth. The capacity to create new ventures and startups will be a key element in the competitiveness of a nation," he said.

Moon also held a special meeting last month with the heads of six unicorn companies at his office Cheong Wa Dae. A unicorn company refers to an unlisted startup with a valuation of more than US$1 billion. Moon promised at the meeting to increase the number of local unicorn companies to 20 by 2020 from the current six.

"Despite our joint efforts, there have been many difficulties in turning our venture firms into global companies. There have been difficulties for a startup to scale up and become a unicorn company," the president told Wednesday's meeting where the government also revealed its plans to start what it called the second venture boom.

"Now the government seeks to move beyond from building a nation of startups to building a nation where venture firms can grow and leap," said Moon.

To this end, the government will create an investment fund that will inject 12 trillion won ($10.65 billion) over the next four years to specifically help scale up new startups.

It will also promote mergers and acquisitions (M and As) to make it easier for venture capitalists to realize their earnings so they can make fresh investments.

To this end, the government will work to expand the investment recovery rate through M and As from 2.5 percent in 2018 to over 10 percent in 2020, the president said.

"What I can promise you for certain here is that the government will help you by becoming your partner, supporter. I ask that you too stand in front to lead more young people and innovators," he added.

Source: Yonhap news Agency