In 2002, John Goscha, then attending Bobson College, suddenly wondered what it would be like to cover the whole wall with paper and use it like a white board. However, as paper is not reusable, he would have had to re-paper the whole wall after it became full of his scribbles. At this point, he devised erasable paint. When he paints the wall, the wall itself becomes like white board so the scribbles on the wall can be erased. In 2003, Goscha received fund from his school and started research to make the paint. During the process, he failed many times.
However, Bobson College continued to support his research and he eventually succeeded. In 2008, he founded a company named “Idea Paint” His paint is now being sold in more than 50 countries throughout the world, earning his company over 20 million dollars per year. The above story is an example of a successful start-up originally supported by a college. However, this is not the only such case. In Korea, the number of university students who also run their own companies is increasing. While this in Korea is spreading widely, what do Donggukians think of start-up?
The Post conducted a survey on Donggukians’ interest in and awareness of start-up. Among the 300 student respondents, 74 percent of them replied they are not interested in start-up while only eight percent of them said they are. Also, regarding the question about whether the students previously knew about any start-up programs on campus, 71 percent of them responded “yes,” while 29 percent of them said “no.” Moreover, among those who had known about start-up programs on campus and are interested in launching one, 12 percent of them replied that they had actually used the start-up programs that are offered on campus. One of the survey participants, Lee Da-ye, a sophomore majoring in English Literature, said she did not know there were programs offered from campus for students who want to launch a start-up. Likewise, as the results of the survey imply, yet there are many students who are unaware of these start-up programs or even the existence of the Youth Entrepreneurship Center, where students can get institutional and infrastructural support in launching a start-up. Then, what kinds of start-up programs does our campus provide?
Helping Donggukians to Become Future Entrepreneurs
Starting from this semester, all the entrepreneurship centers on campus were combined into one, called The Youth Entrepreneurship Center. The Center was newly established for the purpose of launching full-scale start-up programs for young entrepreneurs, including an institutional and infrastructural system. As for the institutional system, there are both regular and after-school courses where students can gain the educational background and professional knowledge of specific fields necessary for a start-up. For instance, there are lectures in technical start-up fields, global social marketing, and big database analysis. In addition to these additional courses that are offered at the Center, students can learn and experience the full start-up process by double majoring in Technological Entrepreneurship, a program under Venture Opening.
During the program, students learn how to recognize opportunity, generate ideas, validate innovative business models, bring new technologies to market and launch new ventures. During the first and second years, Technological Entrepreneurship majors take a variety of liberal arts courses, core business courses and Introduction to Entrepreneurship. During the third and fourth years, students take advanced business core and specific Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation courses. Choi Jang-ho, a senior double majoring in Computer Science and Engineering and Technological Entrepreneurship, said he is fairly content with courses offered in the Technological Entrepreneurship major.
He also added that, when preparing a start-up, it is important to have an overall knowledge of business, economics, law, and accounting. This is because a start-up is not focused on one specific field of study; rather, it is a combination of various academic fields. Another system that was established to help future entrepreneurs is called Fostering System for Student Start-ups. This system helps groups of students by providing one-on-one consulting and a mentoring program linked to professionals or corresponding organizations.
Moreover, the Youth Entrepreneurship Center offers camps that help students to build entrepreneurship. In general, these camps can be divided into three types. First, the Basic Camp is designed for all students without any limitation as to who can participate. This camp provides lectures for TRIZ, which is an international certification for theory of solving invented problems. The second one, Actual Camp, deals mainly with the start-up system and the additional academic knowledge needed for a start-up, such as accounting and law. During the final type of camp, the Activity Entrepreneurship Camp, students can gain first-hand experience by visiting creative enterprises. Additionally, a mentoring program is offered within this camp program, so students can have a chance to explore various careers.
In addition to the start-up programs to foster entrepreneurs, a leave of absence system for students’ preparing to launch a start-up was also introduced this semester. This system was established in order to reduce pressure on students launching a start-up. Although the procedure generally follows the regular leave of absence system, students also need to submit a document to prove they are launching a start-up, and the maximum length of leave is four semesters. Students using this system can also request a regular leave of absence with an additional break of up to six semesters. As of now, eight students have requested a leave of absence to launch a start-up. As for infrastructural support, the Center has rented an office from the Chungmuro Media Center for students to use upon request.
The Center is also offering spaces for students to use for start-up idea meetings. Lee Hyeon-ha, ’09 Economics, said he took advantage of the school’s support system as he prepared to launch his start-up. Students might not be able to afford to rent their own offices, but with the help of the university’s support system they are able to reduce the financial burden.
Interview with Start-up Story of Cafe In
“Cafe In” is one of the start up club consists of groups of students majoring in Department of Food Science and Biotechnology. Cafe In was launched in 2013 and about 30 students are actively working. Last year, with the support of LINC, members of Cafe In made was able to sells dutch coffee and launch it to the public. They are now developing new items like fermented coffee, and vinegar. They receive financial aid from their Alumni. Also, professors at Department of Food Science and Biotechnology advise them in selecting good items.
Q: What were the advantages of using start-up support program from school?
A: We failed to receive the support when we proposed the business last year and we knew that our business plan was not enough to be supported by the school. LINC advised us how to write business plan(Business Model Canvas) in more detail. We have gotten confidence and thought that we would do better than before.
Q: Is there something that Dongguk’s start-up support should make up for?
A: I think the most urgent problem is in the space. Second, usually LINC supports narrow field regarding spectrum of start-up such as IT or engineering, so there are not a lot of experts we can ask for advice.
Q: What does start-up mean to you as a university student?
A: I think start-up provides life-long experience. I realized that I should have comprehensive understanding of various fields such as business management, economics, law, accounting. Through start-up, I had opportunity to learn how the society actually runs.