The 1st KSEA STEP-UP event was a great success

The Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association (KSEA) held the 1st Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Partners’ Upscale Program (STEP-UP) in Baltimore, Maryland and ONLINE for 4 days from September 21st, 2020 with the mission to promote and enrich the KSEA members’ entrepreneurship and to discuss the success of innovative ventures, especially in the fields of biotech and healthcare.



STEP-UP 2020 was held for the first time as an Online / in-person (Baltimore, MD) hybrid event. A large conference room was reserved for on-site operation meeting the government guidelines in the COVID-19 pandemic. The online conference was hosted through a combination of Whova and Zoom Webinar to enable the participants to actively network with other attendees as well as to provide good multimedia experience of the presentations and in networking sessions.

The STEP-UP 2020 was supported by KSEA Affiliated Professional Societies (APS) and local chapters including KITEE (Korean-American Innovative Technology Engineers and Entrepreneurs), KAPAL (Korean-American Professional Association in Life Sciences), KLAM (Korean Life Scientists Association of Maryland), and KSEA Baltimore Chapter.



The STEP-UP 2020 Program consisted of 17 presentations by 21 speakers, excluding congratulatory remarks, welcoming remarks, and opening remarks. Despite the challenges given the current situation of the pandemic, it was a successful event with a registration of 230 participants. Out of those 230 participants, 174 participants registered from the KSEA registration site whereas the rest of 56 participants were from KOREA through INNOPOLIS. The number of average participants were 107/day with the highest number of participants of 113 on the first day of the conference. 25 participants (about a fourth of the total participants) attended in-person.

Across all the participants, the type for role that was best represented around the startups was “Technology Partner” with 72 participants identifying this role as their current or preferred role around startups. There was also a considerate number of 52 participants identifying “Mentor” as their current or preferred role around startups as well.



Aside from the type for role, the types of interest around startups that were most popular were “Start a venture” and “Strategic partnership”. There were 82 participants interested in starting a venture and 80 participants interested in strategic partnership.



Overall feedback after the event and the result of the participants analysis were very encouraging. The Committee plans to hold the next STEP-UP event in the Spring of 2021 to extend the target fields to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Science, and ICT.

Kyeong Ho Yang, Ph.D

STEP-UP Program Chair