WEDC agreement to create new investment, export opportunities

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA. FEB. 22, 2023 – University of Wisconsin alumni living in South Korea will promote Wisconsin as a good place to do business and encourage Korean investment in the state under a new agreement to be signed Thursday with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

“Our great university system attracts students from around the world,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “Graduates bring the Badger spirit back to their home countries, building successful careers and communities. They are some of our state’s best ambassadors and can help create new economic and cultural opportunities in Wisconsin and South Korea.”

Hughes traveled to Seoul this week to sign the memorandum of understanding with the Wisconsin Alumni Association in Korea (WAAK). She will also be meeting with the South Korean leaders of Wisconsin companies and working with the alumni association on future possible investment opportunities in Wisconsin.

“As the University of Wisconsin-Madison Alumni Association in Korea, we are committed to fostering educational, cultural, and economic exchange between our two regions,” said Seog-hoon Kang, WAAK president. “This partnership will provide opportunities for our members to connect with Wisconsin businesses and institutions, and to explore new avenues for collaboration and innovation. We look forward to a fruitful and productive partnership with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.”

Under the agreement, WAAK members will promote Wisconsin as a destination for South Korean businesses and investors as well as a good choice for South Korean students. Working together, WEDC and WAAK will also provide opportunities for Wisconsin businesses to connect with partners and customers in South Korea and for South Korean businesses to connect with partners and customers in Wisconsin.

“Many accomplished UW alumni hold top leadership positions in Korean industry and government,” said Sarah Schutt, chief alumni officer and executive director for the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA). “We’re fortunate that they have remained connected to their alma mater through WAAK. Their partnership with WEDC is a true expression the Wisconsin Idea and we’re grateful for their continued engagement and support of the university and the state.”

WAA’s Lora Klenke, managing director of international alumni relations, traveled to South Korea to be present at the signing.

Wisconsin companies exported more than $653 million in products to South Korea in 2022 – an increase of 14.5% over 2021. Hughes led a WEDC trade venture to South Korea in September 2022 to help connect Wisconsin companies with potential export partners.