The CEO of a social enterprise, a mother of two and a student at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institution of Science and Technology) taking MBA (Master of Business Administration) courses, Heo Mi-ho (’07, Business Administration) awaits for the next chapter of her life to begin. She is a capable and passionate individual who eagerly pursues her dreams of helping others and herself to find happiness.
Growing up under parents who were missionaries abroad, Heo had a dream to start her own business through which she could help others. With the dream she sincerely desired, she spent most of her college years in exploring the field of venture businesses. Although she experienced some difficulties since not many opportunities related to venture businesses were present at the time, she persistently sought ways to learn and ultimately to turn her dream into reality. She joined a venture club in Seoul National University and spent most of the subsequent four years learning about the start-up businesses she desired to start one day.
Her efforts finally rewarded her after a few years. With three friends who specialized in marketing, inventing IT (Information Technology)-related devices, and design, Heo founded Weenu, a social enterprise that helps rising artists introduce their works and the public be informed of various art works.
“Only 1 percent of artworks are consumed by one percent of consumers,” Heo said. “My goal is to inform the public about the rest 99 percent of other artworks and the artists to have the opportunity to introduce their works.”
She values the work and is satisfied with her accomplishments, yet also focuses on her family as she believes balance between work and family is crucial. Understanding and sympathizing with other working mothers, she allows them to leave work at half past 5 and the rest at 6. With such rule, not only is she able to balance work and family but also to allow others to do the same.
“I hope the culture that now may stand exclusively to Weenu spreads and prevails,” Heo said.
She advises aspiring entrepreneurs to have confidence in themselves and persist. Although they may experience disappointing results at times, they should perceive it merely as a bad luck and move on to give another try in a different angle.
“There is a saying that everything is 70 percent luck,” Heo said. “Even if you fail, perceive it as bad luck. Do not lose confidence in any circumstance.”
The current surge of interest in new enterprises not only from the public but also from the government created many support programs that teach and foster future entrepreneurs. Heo views this trend positively.
“There were not many programs specially designed for future entrepreneurs due to skewed social perceptions toward them when I started,” Heo said. “Now there are many that not only advocate but also promote new enterprises. Such ardent support is a good signal for aspiring entrepreneurs.”
Heo plans to focus on Weenu and learning more about social enterprises at KAIST. Her ultimate goal is to make Weenu a global enterprise which could provide more opportunities to various people around the world and to continue balancing work and family.