In a world where so many previously free items are reappearing with a price on their head, the idea of a company that provides a printing service free of charge to any students that wish it seems hard to believe. The most surprising thing about “Add2paper,” however, is that its CEO is none other than Jun Hae-na (Korea University, 3), who is a student herself at Korea University.
Jun’s life as a CEO all began during a class project in the “Campus CEO” class she took at school in her sophomore year. A course also available at Ewha, “Campus CEO” requires students to come up with an idea and plan for a new business. Placing ads on the margins of a paper was actually another team’s idea, but Jun joined the team once she realized the brilliance of the idea.
“I saw a vast ocean of possibilities for the idea in the college market, and I knew at once that it was something that I wanted to do,” Jun said.
The system of Add2paper relies on companies who wish to target students through placing ads on the margins of print-outs and students who appreciate free printing services. As students enter their gender, grade, major, and school district when they make an account on Add2paper, companies can target the type of students as they wish. In addition, they can also decide how often their ad will be repeated simply by running a program, which is another merit that makes Add2paper attractive for companies.
As the printing costs are covered by the payments companies make to advertise themselves, companies’ participation in this project was necessary to bring Add2paper a success. Being a student with no real experience in marketing, Jun had a hard time persuading companies to work with Add2paper in the beginning.
“The companies were reluctant to close a deal with us in the beginning. Many of them said that we would most likely close down in six months or so, as so many other young marketers before us have done,” Jun said.
“But I had a clear vision about the role Add2paper could play between the students and companies and I was confident about it, so I didn’t give up and continued to persuade them over a long period of time. I even visited one company for one year before the CEO of that company decided to have faith in Add2paper. Eventually, other companies saw that we were serious about what we were doing, and that they could trust us.”
Aside from persuading companies to work with Add2paper, Jun also visited 14 different colleges to gather a picture of the general printer use and to conduct a survey on students so that Add2paper could better suit their needs.
“This was a necessary process, as Add2paper is the first of its kind in the world to launch such a service, and there were no previous data that the Add2paper team could refer to,” Jun said.
Now, with more than 40,894 students using the service in more than 228 universities in Korea, Add2paper has emerged with a substantial customer pool that is hard to ignore. This year, Jun plans for Add2paper to venture into the foreign market, to provide its free printing services to universities abroad.
Students in Korea whose schools do not have Add2paper yet can benefit from the service easily by making an account at the Add2paper homepage (http://www.add2paper.com). Once a school gathers 1,000 students who wish to use Add2paper and have signed up at the site, Add2paper will start providing its service to that school. Currently, 48 students from Ewha have signed up at Add2paper, and a link on the homepage lets any visitor know how many people have signed up for the service from each school.
Regarding her position as a student CEO, Jun admitted that there are times when she is not sure what steps she must take in order to lead Add2paper toward further improvement and growth.
However, Jun remarked that she was able to come this far thanks to having helpful mentors, who guided her at each step. She also mentioned that having faith in one’s self is an important factor as well.
For students her age who dream of starting a business but are hesitant, Jun gave a very simple but encouraging advice with a confident smile: “Go for it!”