New Korean investment in Rotherham

Published Monday, 10th August 2015
Korean business people visit Rotherham
Pictured are representatives from the five new businesses along with staff from the Moorgate Crofts Business Incubation Centre and (right foreground) Business Incubation Centre Manager Amanda Parris and TRoom founder Dabriel Choi on top of the Moorgate Crofts Business Incubation Centre.

Five South Korean companies are launching into the UK as an immediate result of a business delegation to Yorkshire.

The “Korean 5”, formed by innovative entrepreneurs, are bringing remarkable new products to market, across the fields of emergency medical treatment, soil nutrients in agriculture, aero-drones, an online tutorial platform and tourism – in the form of a project to help visitors handle the British weather.

Their choice of the UK, and Rotherham in particular, stems from May’s Korean trade mission by TRoom Ltd (which represents thousands of Korean businesses) and the Korean Government. It was the first time any Korean delegation led by a government figure had ventured outside London.

The event was put together by RiDO (Rotherham Investment and Development Office, part of Rotherham Council) and supported by Sheffield City Region, Sheffield University and private sector partners, including Freeths Law Firm in Sheffield.

The companies are receiving initial support from the South Korean Government. They are being housed in one of Rotherham’s four enterprise centres – the borough is recognised as one of the UK’s most successful promoters and supporters of new businesses, with multiple awards in the field. 

The local authority’s regeneration arm, Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO) has set up a three-month programme of support and introductions for the four.

Cllr Denise Lelliott, Rotherham Council's Advisory Cabinet Member for Housing and Local Economy, welcomed the innovative investment.  She said:  “It is great to see these young companies coming to Rotherham as part of the business accelerator project. I hope they thrive and grow within our business centre and wider business network here in the region.”

For Ultimate Drone, the name says it all. The team there is creating what it claims will be a new generation of drone – the UD-10X, capable of carrying 30kg of industrial payload. Its creators say it will meet the needs of the rapidly-growing drone market and “overwhelm conventional drones with its performance”.

Compared to current drones and helicopters it will have high thrust and mobility, and will be simple, low-cost – and safe.

The team has a background in mechanical engineering and aerospace information engineering, and an award-winning track-record in creating different types of drone.

Umbrella Rental is an idea inspired by… the British weather. 

The three young people behind it realised that while visitors to these shores, especially in summer, expect to see traditional sights, they don’t expect another great British tradition – rain.

So they came up with a simple solution – rent a brolly. They are proposing a scheme, based in London initially, of collaboration with cycle-hire companies and London tube stations to use their facilities to site rental machines. The idea was first launched by a company in New York and was then picked up in Japan.

Now these young entrepreneurs believe it can take off in the UK, with their own patented IT in the handle. They say it would be a sustainable, eco-friendly public service – reducing the waste of disposable umbrellas – and would make visiting the UK a happier experience for tourists. The service could also be rolled out to the general public.

Y&S Future is an innovative technology company whose IT software “smart” products include wristbands that can help prevent children going missing – and locate them if they do – and a medication box that reminds you to take your pills.

Now it is developing the Lomylife Emergency Medical Service. It’s a small piece of IT tagging, linked to an electronic card or smartphone. It can also be worn in safety helmets.

It contains information that identifies the carrier and has a hi-tech link to your medical history and records. So, for instance, if an ambulance is rushing you to hospital, the paramedic can get medical staff there prepared in advance. 

More than a quarter of the NHS budget goes on non-elective or emergency inpatient care.

Sucseed is the brainchild of five young people concerned about the growing gap between world population and food supply. They are harnessing the Internet of Things (IoT), with its ability to transfer massive amounts of data, to improve agricultural food production.

The Sucseed entrepreneurs are developing software that can improve the way nutrients are added to the soil. 

By transferring information automatically via a smartphone or the web, those systems can increase productivity, cut fertiliser use, minimise greenhouse gas emissions and reduce water pollution, cut costs and improve efficiency and overall soil quality.

A survey for the UK’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs during 2012-14 found that only 20-30 per cent of land-holders use nutrient management software.

Netalkers has been created by chief executive Becky Cho. She realised that modern telecommunications, IT and applications such as Skype could bring together people who need information and are prepared to pay for it with others who could supply it.

Her company is the intermediary that puts them in touch and can also channel payments. Anyone seeking specialist information – from market conditions for a product launch in another country to cultural issues – can search the company database of professionals they want to learn and network with.

Rotherham already has two Korean inward investors – TRoom Ltd, a Korean government trade organisation, whose founder Dabriel Choi, was the driving force behind the mission, and KD Navien, a heating technology specialist.

Dabriel Choi said: “These incoming companies have the potential to change our lives for the better. It’s typical of Rotherham’s vision – a vision that created the Advanced Manufacturing Park – that it would want to bring them to the UK and support them.”