“I want to sell expensive university textbooks and other second-hand goods but eBay has a fee and the process is complicated. But at the same time, if you upload something to Facebook where all your friends are, there is no payment method. We’ve planned a social market which properly combines these two business models .”
An exchange student at Yonsei University stands in a lecture room where overseas students from various nations are pitching their business models in English. It is part of “Technology Entrepreneurship in Korea”, a pitching class established by Yonsei University’s Enterprise Support Foundation and the Global Education Center in the first semester of this year. Aimed at exchange and international students, it’s a 3 credit subject to help encourage entrepreneurship.
39 students were split into ten teams and each announced their future company’s name, values, vision and plans. The atmosphere was relaxed but the passion and sincereness didn’t differ from actual startup pitching events. Some students even popped in just to have a look. Recently the government has been getting behind such students and has been pushing plans for an “Entrepreneur Visa” to encourage foreigners to found companies in Korea.
Business plans were detailed, with some teams having clearly outlined their niche markets and timing in months. There were ideas including various mobile services and “hacking insurance” that would be worth investing in right off the bat.
Pitches were followed by critical comments and questions from mentors including queries about who the core target was and if there were similar services that already existed in Silicon Valley. Every time a pitch finished, director Han-jong Lee asked for students to summarize everything they had said about their business model in one sentence and if they had made sure that it was right. CEO of BeSuccess James Jung said, “Compared to other pitches, there were fresh ideas that stuck out. Presentations were relaxed and the confidence of those while communicating was excellent.”
Professor Eun-se Lee who is a management consultant and has spent 15 years leading business professionals in workshops said, “Since starting a company in a foreign country is never easy, they need to reduce the number of mistakes made and be given the mindset of entrepreneurs. Students take the class so seriously that they would even be able to found a company while taking it.”
This post has been translated and adapted from the original article by Jeong-yoon Heo at ET News, a media partner of VentureSquare.