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Young adults to realize their own dreams by a creating them in the way of enterprises-Students, taking the leap into starting a business, not getting a job

 

 

 

 

 

 

With winter’s arrival upon us, so is the worst period of the job market and it has job applicants singing the blues. The time to stop worrying about the recession’s effect on the job market has not yet arrived as the unemployment rate still remains at its highest point - 3.3 percent in October, up 0.1percent from last year and is showing no signs of improvement. In the face of this reality students have taken the leap into starting their own businesses rather than write resumes or wait for the chance of employment that may never come. Starting up one’s own enterprise is appearing as another alternative way to combat the unemployment problem throughout the world. According to statistics conducted by the Kauffman Foundation, the foundation of entrepreneurship, the rate of graduates who started a business is at his highest in the past 15 years. Carl Schramm, president of the Kauffman Foundation said that “Start-up businesses are essential to vitalize the global economy because it prompts to create new jobs."

 

 

Universities help to start enterprises

As people are now very positive about entrepreneurship, Seoul City Hall has made a plan to help and encourage them. The '2030 Youth Industry Project’ is a recent policy which gives people financial support and free space for beginning a venture. This is especially welcomed by the people who do not have enough money in their 20’s and 30’s. People who are selected for this program get 700,000 won or 1,000,000 won every month depending upon their business’s profits each month.


Universities have also stepped up their efforts to make a program that reflects their students’ strong entrepreneurial spirit. Dongguk Venture Incubation Center holds a venture contest and provides special lectures every year inviting famous enterprisers. This year, Lee Geum-yong, the CEO of the Koglo, and Gi Seung-yong, CEO of the Minto gave a lecture to the students about business ventures. Also, Dongguk Venture Incubation Center made an educational program in collaboration with the Small & Medium Business Administration. That is ‘the 2nd weekend school: starting a business held from September 4th to November 6th’. For these 11 weeks, students planned their own businesses and took advice from experts. The course of how to set up a practical on-line shopping mall was heralded as a great success. "It is really helpful because we can get a lot of operating tips from mentors who already started and run companies as well as workers in '11 Street ',the biggest shopping mall in Korea." said Kim Jun-sang who participated in this program. He added that he has gained confidence to run his own business through this course.


Chae So-young, the chief manager of Dongguk Venture Incubation Center, has analyzed the phenomenon that schools and the government have encouraged students to become self employed as a natural and indispensible action at this time. "There is no doubt that starting a business plays a crucial role in creating jobs and the numbers of students who have their own business plans are increasing. The government mainly gives financial aid to every University Venture Incubation Center and we have made programs to encourage and help students."

Let us see what other schools are doing. The career development center of Sookmyung gives financial aid to the students of the department of Arts and Crafts. Sookmyung Women’s University established an online crafts art shopping mall, called “gam-gak-han-spoon” along with their graduate students and their professors this year.


They started the gamgak-han-spoon shopping mall (GHS) on February 19th. Students and professors sell bags, pouches, tableware, bracelets, and other goods. They plan and produce all the goods by themselves and promote the sales at their online shopping mall. This enterprise is called a real enterprise by their college students.


Lee Mi Jung, who is in her fourth year of the Arts and Crafts department, is in a charge of opening a space in GHS. She and other students in the Arts and Crafts department thought about opening an enterprise with the help of career support funds given out by the career development center instead of making a club which is related to job recruitment.


Lee said “establishing an enterprise was a new and big challenge for me and also the first gateway to society.” Lee added that “this handicraft open-market could contribute largely to the development of the handicraft sector. To establish an enterprise was never this easy as a student but I thank our academic advisor, Choi Ji-man and the career development center that helped us to launch a new enterprise”.
Anyang University (AU) is also well known for supporting students that wish to open their own enterprise. AU and Anyang City have made an interesting enterprise program called, “1 market to 1 university”. It allows students to take part in market enterprise and they may receive enterprise support funds.                              


Kim Dong-wook is a student of the Trade and Distribution department of Anyang, who opened a new enterprise called, “Min-deul-re-shim-teo” in February with three of his school juniors. Min-deul-re-shim-teo is a restaurant and their main foods are fried noodles, rich balls and beverages. It is located on No.2 Street in the center market at Anyang 4 district. Anyang city is the first ever city to encourage enterprise by offering 20 million won for rent, and the improvement in accommodations to Kim Dong-wook.
This was an attempt to revitalize Korea traditional markets and the economy of low-income brackets. As AU recognizes the active movements of their student enterprises they have buckled down to support their school’s students.


AU has introduced a system in which they also have enterprise experts for their students at the Anyang Enterprise Incubator Center. One official at AEIC said “We give student financial aid when there is a profit figure in their business, but if there is no profit figure, there can be no support for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inventing an idea of their own

It is easy to find university students operating profitable businesses while they are studying. Among the diverse business fields, the Smartphone industry is one of the hot spots that people gather around and earn money. Hong Gi-jong, a student of Aujoo University, made an iPhone application which functions as an antitheft device - called "Jindo-gae". It has made a big splash and even ranked as high as 6th in the online App store ratings.


Hong Gi-jong said that he made the iPhone app out of necessity. "I couldn't place my Smartphone on the table alone because of my worry that others might steal it so I decided to make an app to protect it." The procedure to make the app was not easy for him, however, has he had never used a Macintosh. Macintoshes are the personal computers which are needed to make applications. He studied the methods of how to operate a Macintosh and made his application just by reading books. Also, he reduced the initial setting-up expenses by remodeling a PC into Hackingtosh. He only slept for two hours each night for two months to develop the application and to study English. "Most of the useful information related to making an app is posted on the Google site in English. So I advised people to study English." said Hong. Also, he added another tip for students who are interested in developing applications. "Registering as an Apple developer is necessary to make and upload an app. After paying $99 a year, you can get a license that allows you to upload it in the App store."


After he released his app, he continued to upgrade it to reflect his customers’ desires."If you are interested in this field, you must invest a lot of time in developing a "brand - new" app on your own. It may be easy to make a simple app after you read some books; however, consumers will not purchase a trivial application. Continuing research and efforts to keep up with new trends is the key to success in this field."

At Yeonsei College Enterprise Club, a competition was also held to award prizes for new inventions. This competition lasted two days at the Kang-won Pyung-chang resort from the 28th of September to the 29th. Kang-won-do also held an enterprise competition to discover unknown talented people who have created superb items or ideas for a new enterprise.

Yeonsei’s 1st prize went to the new item called Invent 2.0, a water extractor type of umbrella which is made of KOLAS fiber. The leader of this club, Kim Jong-in said “we used eco-friendly and recyclable KOLAS fiber for the filter and applied a method of extracting water from an umbrella. He also mentioned that “It is not in the actualization stage yet but it has the possibility of becoming actualized.” Kim said “I just joined in this club in order to do something which is very productive and energetic. I always wanted to try new jobs which I have never done before.” According to Kim, Invent 2.0 has received 4 million to 5 million won in support funds from the school and Won-ju City. He mentioned that “I wish more students could find other things that are interesting for them and also productive. And I will also continue to think about new ideas to invent.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social enterprises, killing two birds with one stone

Starting a business is not just an alternative choice for employment. University students start running their own businesses in a bid to solve social problems and realize their own value. The firm which generates profit and pursues social or environmental goals is usually called a social enterprise. 'Delight' is a social enterprise run by 6 university students. This venture offers hearing aids with cheap prices to low income groups. It is possible for them to sell their products cheaply by standardizing the hearing aids and changing the structure of distribution. "Hard of hearing people can't afford the expensive price of a hearing aid." said Won Jun-ho, chief of 'Delight' marketing. "It was indescribably thrilling when we found a solution to this problem that the government and other firms had yet to solve."


Won said that lack of inner motivation is an influential hindrance to operating a business. "Students easily visit 'Delight' with the hope of realizing their own thoughts and dreams as well as making money and told us that they want to engage in a business. But they soon abandoned their work and made excuses like ‘"I have to study to take a job"’. I think it was because that they do not wish to run a business to make a living. Anyhow, this was discouraging and confusing for us. It is very important to build up trust between co-workers and creating inner motivation."


Eartizen, a combination of earth and citizen, is another social enterprise in Seoul. It provides a space for people to have meetings with a low price of 2,000 won per hour and sell their organic teas and meals. Jang Seong-uk, the CEO of Eartizen, opened it 4 years ago and shared his thoughts and ideas with people of when he was a 28 year old drop-out. "University is like an institute that makes students only fit into a major company, so I quit and started my own business. This has not only helped me to realize my own dream but also to make money." Jang also runs a program that supports city farming.


"A social enterprise not only pursues to make money but also solves the problems that government’s cannot." said Jang who hopes to increase the number of young social entrepreneurs. He encouraged students to start their own social enterprises. "If you want to make a social enterprise, then just do it! You can find a way to get through the difficult times even when you face problems. And if you need a mentor just send me an email. It's eartizen@korea.com."

 

Experts’Eye

Yoo Soo-bong, who is an expert at the Anyang Enterprise Incubation Center, explained about the situation of this enterprise boom. “Many college students are seriously suffering from the unemployment crisis. They need to push through their unemployment difficulties with the thought of finding a job for themselves without another’s help.” He added that college students should be truly encouraged to open their own enterprises to actualize their dreams in society. Yoo finally added “If an enterprise ensures a better future life than one should go for it and not hesitate.”

Park Ji-hyun, No Yoo-ra  bungae0@dongguk.edu

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