SSN was organized last year on April 23 by the leaders from student start-up business clubs from various universities. These leaders recognized the youth’s difficulties in starting up their own business with no background information or additional help and thus planned to found SSN after participating in the “2012 MIT Global Startup Workshop” held in Turkey.
“The members believed that creating a startup network for Korean university students would make a significant change,” said Kim Joo-hwan (Seoul National University, 2), the current president of SSN.
SSN started with 43 universities and 64 student clubs from all around the country. Currently, about 1,500 members from 131 universities and 98 student clubs are enrolled in SSN. The members include both individuals and teams who wish to start up a business, so that they can learn from each other and find someone who they can work with. SSN believes that to create a successful culture that encourages youth business, forming university student network is crucial.
“Team building is the most important process in starting a business,” Kim said. “SSN wants to provide various opportunities for youth entrepreneurs to find suitable members in specific positions.”
SSN does not limit itself to just creating necessary information for student CEOs; it also holds numerous events that encourage university students to start up their own business. As SSN builds network with all kinds of social organizations such as Korea Entrepreneurship Foundation that help youth business leaders, it also organizes various festivals and camps related to the theme.
Most recently, SSN hosted the second “Start-Up-Date Party” on May 3, which can be interpreted as “a networking party for youth entrepreneurs.”
It provided participants with direct information related to starting a business by student entrepreneurs in various fields.
In addition, other business leaders from well-known companies also came as mentors, giving participants words of advice and encouragement. SSN differentiated the Start-Up-Date Party from other events by creating a friendly atmosphere.
“Previous events related to business tended to be formal, causing participants to be less active,” Kim said. “We organized the event to be a ‘standing party,’ so that students can feel much more comfortable in meeting each other and become interactive.”
In 2012, SSN co-hosted “Korea Student Startup Festival” with the Ministry of Education (MOE). It also included various programs such as networking launch, talk concert and lectures.
Because all of them were directly related to students starting their own business, SSN played a huge role in organizing the event. They planned most of the programs with the funding from the MOE.
Even though SSN successfully established a solid foothold as one of the most famous student organizations in Korea, it sometimes faces complications in managing the community.
“We always had to try to find ways to benefit both youth entrepreneurs and students who are interested in business when organizing such events,” Kim said. “As there is a huge gap between the two groups, sometimes it is difficult to satisfy both needs at the same time.”
SSN’s main goal is not to limit their benefits in certain groups, but to build a win-win relationship between students and entrepreneurs. It plans to encourage university students not to be afraid of starting business, and provide practical help to young CEOs.
“SSN plans to nurture future business leaders by finding students’ potentials,” Kim said. “With growing support from outside organizations and active participation of the members, SSN will soon stand as a major threshold for youth enterprises.”