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  • Writer's pictureThe Citypreneurs Team


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Theme at a Glance

From connected homes to virtual work spaces, rapid technological changes have created a seismic shift in the ways we live, work and think. It’s an exciting time to be alive as nowadays we hear headline after headline about the benefits of the newest technologies such as automation, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. While these changes come with new opportunities as new sectors emerge, there grows the risk of a digital divide where sectors disappear and people are left behind in terms of income inequality, unemployment and migration. There are currently 212 million people out of work worldwide, and the working age population keeps growing. This means we’ll need to create 600 million new jobs by 2030.

“Boost skills for jobs and well-being”

South Korea is a world leader in ICT, and its workforce is one of the most educated in the world. Yet many people struggle to find decent work and face challenges in the labor market, especially women, youth, the elderly and migrants. With the growing importance of job training and skills development programs in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the second theme for Citypreneurs Seoul 2019 is “Developing Skills”. Under the framework of the Global Goals (UN SDGs), the theme calls for solutions to help achieve economic growth, higher levels of productivity and technological innovation (SDG8). Entrepreneurship and job creation are crucial to this process, and require us to build up infrastructure and promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization (SDG9). It also involves providing access to lifelong learning opportunities to increase the skills and abilities of future working populations and ageing populations (SDG4) for a socially, environmentally and economically brighter future.

Adopting skills for the future in Seoul

Seoul is looking for solutions to offer its citizens opportunities to improve skills that can add more value to its local economy, create jobs, and foster entrepreneurship. Start-ups and businesses can play a crucial role in finding cost-effective solutions to reduce the skills gap and promote inclusive lifelong learning.

For one, competency-based learning has come to the forefront of Korea’s education agenda to cultivate ‘creative and integrative learners’ that are ready for jobs of the future. To address this, it is necessary to upgrade current education and training practices to hone creativity, soft skills and Human-AI or Human-machine cooperation skills, as well as knowledge sharing between youth and older persons. Furthermore, evaluating the impact and quality of training and reskilling programs by using Big Data and analytics as innovative measurement tools will lead to smarter policymaking and tracking of successful career advancement paths.

Given the benefits of diversity on innovation, it is also important to make efforts to ensure marginalized groups, from women, elderly, low-income people to youth and migrant workers, are included in STEM sectors by equipping them with the right skills and working conditions to be competitive in the changing job market. In this sense, solutions are needed to expand the pipeline of women and other marginalized groups in tech fields and equip them with stronger entrepreneurship skills.

Such efforts towards inclusion need to be supported with equal access to education and training. This includes improving the way formal education and adult education are delivered, as well as enabling more informal ways for people to access training and development. Cost-effective education products and services need to be enhanced to eliminate barriers to access and improve the quality of learning. User-friendly design for marginalized groups such as people with disabilities and the elderly should also be considered. For instance, with the help of ICT, minority groups can have access to adequate education through distance learning and consulting modality.

Citypreneurs Seoul 2019 encourages you to apply your innovative ideas for inclusive learning and skills development for the future. Solutions for the future will come from social protection initiatives spearheaded by young people like you who will inherit our cities with scores of at-risk populations. Your business model should take into consideration the interlinked nature of the UN SDGs.


Apply by JUNE 27 for our early bird deadline and get a chance to be among 10 of the 30 finalist teams (remaining early bird submissions will be reviewed again at the final applications deadline). For more information, visit our website.

Feel free to get in touch with us via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Youtube), we’re glad to assist you with any questions or enquiries you may have. We look forward to your application!

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