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Student Entrepreneurs Making the World a Better Place
  • Jeon You-na, Park Su-jeong
  • 승인 2012.12.03 20:12
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  On November 13th, "Dongguk Business Venture Festival" was held in Business Administration Building.  
 
A wind of start-up businesses is blowing through university campuses. At Dongguk University, the “Dongguk business venture festival” was held on November 13th. Edward G. Rogoff, a mentor of the founder of Amazon.com and a professor at City University of New York, and Dr. Gong, who is known as the head of the self-business and self-change management, gave a special lecture to students. In addition, business venture festivals were also held in Keimyung University, Jeonnam National University, and Hanbat University this year. Moreover, the Student Startup Network (SSN) launched on April 23rd in 2012. SSN is combination venture clubs in which people can share their venture ideas or information. Currently, about 81 clubs in 55 universities participate in the Network. This indicates that a lot of university students are interested in founding businesses.


Last October, “Incruit”, an internet site that provides job information, took a survey which asked the question, “Suppose financial conditions were met, would you rather start your own business rather than work for a company?” Among 310 University students, 47.7% answered “Strongly positive” and 36.8% answered “Positive”, which leads to an assumption that at a total of 84.5% students have positive attitudes towards establishing their own businesses.


Why do students want to start their own businesses? According to data given by the Korea Labor Institute, the unemployment rate of recent university graduates accounts for 38%. This means graduates have difficulties finding jobs. To overcome their unemployment status, students may choose to start their own business. However, beyond the unemployment crisis, there are more important reasons why students are so currently attracted to start-up businesses.


The first reason is that if the founded business is successful, the entrepreneur can make more money than by just working for a company and receiving monthly payments. Secondly, people can make their own corporation using their hobbies or interests or knowledge from their major. Not only restaurants but internet clothing stores are popular startup business choices among university students. For example, Chen Jeong-min, who graduated from Dongguk University, started an online female clothing store called “Minsshop” and its monthly revenue is about 10 billion won.


When students graduate from university and join a company, there are not many students who actually apply for a position that has to do with what they have learned from their university major. However, if they start-up their own business using the knowledge gained from their major, they can apply it into practical usage. For instance, Choi Dong-won, who is a junior majoring in Industrial System Engineering at Dongguk University, released “Ponple” app (an app that reduces total phone fees) in August 2012 with his colleagues. He established Ponple Inc. and used what he had learned at university when he launched “Ponple” compatible with Android and Ios systems. Users have increased to 400,000 in two months.

Another reason for starting your own business is that people can do what they want to do. They do not want to simply use the labor force and work for other people to earn money. By venturing, entrepreneurs can be their own CEOs of their own companies and do business by themselves.


Finally, there is the anxiety of being laid off. There is no such thing as ‘permanent jobs’ nowadays, or at least, they are very rare, so even though you may be accepted into a company, you are still in an unstable and precarious position. Therefore, people choose to venture their own business in order to reduce the fear of being laid off.

Thanks to the development of SNS, success stories of venture know-how are more accessible than before. Because of that, communication between pre-entrepreneurs is very active. The Student Startup Network (SSN) is a representative example and through blogs like Naver or Daum cafe, people are able to share their ideas actively.


According to Professor Lee Young-dall of the Department of Business Administration at Dongguk University, there are three main advantages of start-up businesses. First, venture contributes to job creation. About 6,000,000 college students graduate every year, but the companies recruit only about 20,000 as new employees. In other words, there is only about a 3.3% chance that students will get a job after they graduate. However, if more students establish their own businesses, more jobs will be created and the unemployment rate could be reduced. Second, starting your own business makes the world a better place. Prof. Lee said, “Most of the businesses founded by university students fit more into the mold of value-creation rather than living-earning. Students focus more on making the world a better place to live.” Third, establishing a business helps students to develop an independent brand. By branding oneself, there can be greater potential opportunities to pursue one’s own values rather than by working for a company. 


“Frontier”, which has been established since1998, is the first established venture club at Dongguk University. Choi, the founder of “Ponple Inc.” is the vice-president of the Frontier club. People undertake each project according to their interests and come up with creative ideas. They take practical venture-related courses in the club. He said, “Establishing a business is not easy for university students. However, if you want to be a specialist in a specific field, and do business the way you want, starting a business is a valuable thing no matter what anyone says because a person is the master of their own life.” As a venture tip, He suggests meeting top specialists in an interesting field and asking them to be mentors.


If any students are interested in starting up their own business, Dongguk is there to help you. Dongguk “Venture Support Group” has its objective of contributing to regional community development and job creation by bringing up global entrepreneurs who can lead the 21st century. “Venture Support Group” holds a competitive program called the “Korean Real Venture League” for pre-entrepreneurs in April and May every year. Any student who is interested in establishing their own business in any field is welcome to apply for this competition. The “Venture Support Group” qualifies fresh business ideas through preliminary and final rounds, and awards are given. To the winners, the “Venture Support Group” provides venture lessons and helps them get patents for their business ideas. They also support the winners with a maximum fund of 3,000,000 won.


Real Mentors is a representative venture business which has benefited from the “Venture Support Group”. Real Mentors is a magazine business that deals with matters such as college entrance examinations, careers, and courses for teenagers. The CEO of Real Mentors is Kim Ho-cheul, who majors in Physical Education at Dongguk University. He said, “Besides learning, I noticed that there are not enough places and human resources for students to support students with an open heart. It is important to join a major company and make good money, but I thought it is more important for young leaders to recognize the social problems we are facing and put our efforts into resolving them. This is why I decided to start this business with my own vision.” With his clear business goal, his idea was selected by the “Venture Support Group” by way of the competition. After his idea was chosen, he was able to acquire venture-related knowledge by taking business lectures provided by the “Venture Support Group” for one year. With professional understanding, he founded Real Mentors last December. Currently, he is still receiving some help from the “Venture Support Group” such as venture capital and office free leasehold.

It is also true that venture businesses have their own risks. However, starting a business is all about the “entrepreneur mind-set,” “entrepreneur attitude,” and “entrepreneur skill” that focuses on achieving one’s vision and making those risks calculated ones. If there is any student who has a clear goal and unique venture idea, there is unlimited potential awaiting them. In addition, venture clubs and the Dongguk “Venture Support Group” are willing to help those ideas to fruition. For those of you who are interested in starting their own businesses this winter break may be the best time to start developing them.

Jeon You-na, Park Su-jeong  jeon_una@dongguk.edu, happy2uy@dongguk.edu

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