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Natalie Lingwood,

Expansion (Slush’D)

While in Busan one couldn’t help but notice the immense potential of the local startups. Busan Slush’D, organised by The Korean Startup Forum and led by Josh Choi set the stage for impressing the world with local talent. The event served as a fantastic platform for local startups to showcase themselves as well as the amazing talent and potential of the region. This was all done with the help of investors as well as important ecosystem players.

The team understood the assignment of making the event “look Slushy”. The HQ felt right at home 7,383km across the globe.

But enough about us, you’re probably much more interested to hear from the people who made it all happen:


To tackle the Seoul-centered Korean startup ecosystem, Korea Startup Forum aimed to discover innovative local startups in Busan and help them to promote their innovations to both the Korean and global startup ecosystems.

To come up with the best agenda for the event, we focused on local problems. Many cities around the world are facing similar problems, which means solutions can be globalized. That’s where our theme ‘Glocalizing Busan Startups’ came from.

In a nutshell, hosting Slush’D in Busan was a great chance to build solidarity among the Busan startup community and laid the foundation for them to move forward to the global ecosystem.


The theme ‘Glocalizing Busan Startups’ was highly welcomed due to its fit for the needs of the Busan startup ecosystem. For example, the pitching session showcased innovative ideas for tackling urban challenges, inspiring attendees to know more about local startups and creators. The conference had a good variety of speakers: innovative local startups, Busan-based corporates, and international players. Especially, inviting speakers from other Slush’D hosting cities revealed huge potential collaborations among cities to boost each other’s startup ecosystems.

Some other things that went really well was:

  • Biz-matching was a success for local startups to connect with investors. The program allowed for networking and showcased innovative ideas. Investors discovered promising startups in Busan as well.
  • Startups were able to introduce their products and services to both investors and global players, by operating the booth zone.
  • Various small events such as lucky draws, games and guessing the winner of the pitching competition, encouraged the attendees to participate in more programs.

Since this Slush’D event was the first in Korea, naturally there were some things that could have been improved. In order to really wow the large number of attendees, more staff and volunteers would have been needed. Unfortunately, due to some delays, there were time limitations which prevented Q&A sessions with the audience. We also found that we spent a little too much time on stage program from one of our sponsors which we weren’t able to control and make really Slushy.


Since this was the first time organising this type of event there was a lot of learnings to be had. For the next edition of Busan Slush’D there will be more program for students and future entrepreneurs so that they could get insights from the entrepreneurs. Of course, all the programs should flow with the theme and overall atmosphere of the event.

Here are a couple of other things we learnt while organising our event:

  • Make sure the number of volunteers is enough and they are well-trained for the event.
  • Delays for any reason can happen, make sure to set aside some extra time for your event.
  • Support from the local government and corporates is crucial for the startups, but careful coordination should be provided.
  • Encourage the local startups to be more self-confident and bold!

The celebration of local startups was truly heartwarming to see. The event was definitely needed to help the local startups realise their own potential and inspire them to reach for the global stage. In order to unlock this full potential, local startups should take the nervewracking leap to bring their ideas to the world.

Speaking of the world, see you on the other side of it for our next Slush’D!