“Korea is full of entrepreneurship.” The late Peter Ferdinand Drucker, the greatest business management scholar of the late twentieth century, spoke highly of Korea’s entrepreneurs. Is entrepreneur something you are interested in? If so, please read on!
In the history of the Korean economic development, lots of entrepreneurs contributed to Korea’s development during the 1960~80s. In addition, IT ventures deserve credit for their decisive contribution to help Korea escape the 1997-98 foreign exchange crises. IT ventures presented blueprints on how to overcome the foreign exchange crisis.
According to the Wikipedia, the word entrepreneur comes from the French word meaning ‘One who undertakes an endeavor.’ The most obvious form of entrepreneur is that of starting a new business. Entrepreneurs create new industries and new jobs. They are willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation. That means
Today, however, many Korean journals state that, “Korea is facing an absence of entrepreneurship.” And, “There are no entrepreneurs to challenge and to make a business in Korea,” said Lee Yoon-bo, who is a professor in the department of business at Konkuk University.
The Korea Times, which is an English newspaper in Korea, reported that President Lee Myung-bak lamented the country’s weakening entrepreneurship at the policy coordination meeting on November 11th, 2009.
Korea is in the greatest economic recessions. According to the National Statistical Office(NSO), the number of ‘Actual jobless people’ was posted at 3.299 million as of the end of November 2009. The worst of it is that there were 288,000 people who gave up looking for a job. In this situation, lots of people are willing to get a job, but in the labor market there are not a sufficient number of jobs. The youth are becoming shy and weak and they are afraid of challenging their lives. Lots of university students are just looking for ‘SPEC’, TOEIC, TOEFL score. It’s no wonder that droves of recent university students are delaying their graduation. So, what is government doing current the youth unemployment situation?
Recently, the Korean government suggested many policies to help overcome the youth unemployment, such as the youth internships and job sharing. But there are also criticisms of the government’s countermeasures for the issue relating to the youth unemployment. These policies do not fundamentally ease the youth unemployment problems because most of them are temporary measures and fail to offer the youth to develop work experience.
Last January 2010, President Lee said his administration will place top priority on creating jobs this year. Also, he added, “The administration should spare no efforts in supporting young and ambitious entrepreneurs so that they can set up venture firms and be successful CEOs. It can be a magic solution to the youth unemployment.” In short, the Lee presented a new slogan, ‘The youth should venture and be an entrepreneurs!’
At the beginning of the New Year, last January 2010, Maeil Business Newspaper published ‘To learn entrepreneurship from a Great CEO’ in their newspapers. Especially, Chung Ju-yung, who was a founder of Hyundai and CEO, his name had become a byword for ‘Entrepreneurship.’ He usually told members of employment,“Did you ever try it?” In 1971, he went to England to acquire a loan for establishing a dockyard. But he didn’t have any experience to manage a dockyard and had never owned a steel mill company. At that time, he showed a 500 won banknote which was drawn with ‘Geobukseon’(The Turtle Ship), and he said, “Korea made an armored battleship 300 years earlier than England.” Finally, Chung contracted a loan and it enabled him to establish ‘Hyundai Heavy Industries.’
Also, The Korea Economic Daily focused on Lee Byung-chull, who was a founder and CEO of Samsung. And The Korea Economic Daily urged, “The youth should learn an adventurous spirit from Lee Byung-chull .” Lee took the risk and went ahead with his plan, paving the way for Samsung to grow by leaps and bounds and he achieved the success of the present day Samsung. His an indomitable spirit has contributed immensely to Korea’s industry and showed people how to get the ‘Entrepreneurship spirit.’ We met Jeong Jong-beom (Dept. of Chemical Engineering Grad., 00), who is a public official in the Small & Medium Business Administration (SMBA). He explained the SMBA’s many business policies for university students. For example, the entrepreneur education program, to support the university business club, business camp, Biz-Incubator program and so on. The SMBA seemed really willing to support university students who have an idea to create a new business. In 2010, the SMBA will provide university students the opportunity to enroll in a ‘business education program.’ Also, the SMBA is planning to expand its support for the establishment of business incubators (BIs).
“Entrepreneurship is the key point.” He said that difference between success and failure of a company relates directly to entrepreneurship. “I met many university students. Some of them were really adventurous. Those students who made their own business didn’t settle for the present unemployment situation and tried to find a new business.” So, are there any entrepreneurs in our neighborhood? Let’s try to find them!
Touch4Good, New Green Value Because of advertisements, we can see banners everywhere. After the local election in 2006, some 205 tons of abandoned banners were produced. These banners can cover 25 football stadiums. How can this enormous amount of banners be dealt with? The answer is that they can be buried or incinerated.
However, if the banners are buried, they wouldn’t rot for at least 50 years, and if banners are burned they could produce carbon or dioxin. There are young entrepreneurs just fresh out of university who could catch a chance with these regrettable banner conditions. In October 2008, they established the green venture company,’Touch4Good’ which recycles abandoned banners for bags, purses, and backpacks. ‘Touch4Good’ made an effort to change the concept of recycling. All of Touch4Good’s products received a safe result to human through 23 difficult inspections from a professional facility. Their design is also excellent. If you see a product from Touch4Good, you will think, “Is it true that they use abandoned banners?”
Last February 2nd, they contracted to get abandoned banners from Mapo-gu(ward office). Mapo-gu had been a consciousness of problem from abandoned banners and they are willing to recycle these trash. And Mapo-gu promised to help ‘Social Green Venture’, like ‘Touch4Good.’
Touch4Good makes a profit on environmental education programs and selling their products. They sell their products on the internet (www.touch4good.com), as well as in Myeong-dong and Hongik University road. In addition, Touch4Good donates some of their profits to low-income children who have skin diseases related with the environment. Touch4Good’s goal is that a country has no banner trash. “We have a goal that all trash banners disappear from the street.” They have founded a ‘New Green Value’ in abandoned banners. “University students should find themselves for certain. And Do what you really want!”They advised to university students.”
Last year, KAIST professor Ahn Chul-soo said, “Korea should be a cradle of failure! And then, the entrepreneurship could survive.” Like this Professor Ahn’s saying, entrepreneurs are challenging for the better future and creating blue-ocean competitiveness for a new horizon in the world. We, 20s can overcome the challenges and be ambitious! We expect to increase the number of more active entrepreneurs in Korea.