Entrepreneurship over University
Does it really take a college degree to be a successful entrepreneur? Apparently not. Let’s meet some of Korea’s young and talented entrepreneurs that didn’t need a diploma to realize their visions.
This is a multi-level shopping complex in Gyeonggi-do Province.
The complex offers all kinds of products, but one captures the eye in particular.
It’s a self-assembly educational toy for children.
Surprisingly, this educational toy company is run by 19-year old Yeon Heui-yeon.
“Hello, I am Yeon Heui-yeon, CEO of Koi Story,
which aims to create educational toys
unlimited by angles and measurements,
and a pioneering education tool that will change Korea.”
Yeon visits the shop two to three times a week to meet and promote her products to the target consumers,the parents and check market response.
These creations came from the imagination of the children. From a watermill to a big wheel, anything is possible with this toy.
That led many schools and parents to purchase the toy, allowing the company to make approximately US$ 35,000 in sales in the first year of business.
Yeon started this business at 15 when she was a high school freshman. What inspired her to found her own company at that tender age?
Since her first invention at age 10, Yeon has been sweeping awards at various invention contests. She’s also registered dozens of patents for her designs and trademarks.
"I founded a talent donation volunteer group named “Heading into the Ground” with some friends I met at the KAIST Center for Creative Entrepreneur, and we pursued various activities together. That experience inspired me to start a new education system and business in which students become teachers and teach their friends."
Yeon started her business under the motto of “sharing educational benefits with everyone,” creating a curriculum in which students teach each other as well as educational toys.
The CEO founded her own company while her peers went to university. According to 2016 data, 70% of Korean students attend college. Why did she choose such a different path?
"I wanted to start a business and become a CEO to actualize my ideas. Therefore, I chose not to attend university and focus on making my dreams come true."
The young entrepreneur shines with immense passion and ambition. She hopes to spark change in the world’s education system. To make her dreams come true, she strives to expand into the global markets starting with China and Vietnam.
"I’d like to help create a society of sharing and a happy world in which more people realize their potential. That’s the kind of CEO and person I’d like to be."
The 18-year old entrepreneur Jun Kim is a celebrity in the startup industry.
“Hello, I am Kim Min-joon, CEO of Nomad-donut Inc.
I’m 18 years old and the youngest person
to make the Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30 Asia’ list.”
Kim founded a startup company with just US$9,000 after dropping out of high school.
The company made about $55,000 in sales in its first two months and is about to reach the $90,000 mark.
Kim’s colleagues are university graduates and much older, but they came to this company, mesmerized by his vision.
Though young, Kim is already a veteran entrepreneur. He’s already run various businesses and organizations, including an Internet game company he launched at age 8, a platform for medical products for Chinese consumers and a non-profit educational organization.