|Start-up Café Sinchon fosters an environment for anyone interested in start-ups to share information. Photo provided by SCS.
To the right of Ewha’s Main Gate lies Ewha Start-up 52nd Steet, an alley of small stores run by university students. To support the trend of startups, the underground road in front of Yonsei University was renovated as Start-up Café Sinchon (SCS), where students can share information on entrepreneurship.
SCS was established in July 2016, as a collaboration between Seoul City, Seodaemun-gu, and Yonsei University. It is run on the budget from Seoul City by Yonsei Enterprise Support Foundation, and aims to supplement existing facilities that support start-ups.
These facilities are usually situated downtown, and are not easily accessible to students, while start-up centers within universities are only open to attending students. To make up for these shortcomings, SCS provides a place that students can use freely.
“The ultimate purpose of SCS is to allow students to form mutually beneficial communities within a start-up environment,” said a manager from SCS.
SCS runs three programs which run on a regular basis: networking day, start-up mentoring day, and programs held in co-operation with other universities.
On networking day, a guest speaker is invited, and participants present a one minute speech followed by a relay session where they are given time to share ideas.
Start-up mentoring day is consisted of the standard and advanced track. The standard offers a 30 minute one on one Q&A session with a start-up professional. The advanced track provides mentoring according to the developmental stage of the start-up.
“Usually, more than half the participants are university students,” said a manager from SCS. “Established start-ups, start-up clubs searching for ideas and students interested in start-ups are the ones that participate most enthusiastically.”
Some programs are held in collaboration with universities. Programs already run by universities are extended in scale and held in conjunction with SCS. Lectures by famous start-up CEOs and networking programs are abundant as well. Ewha held a special program with SCS last August, which involved a mock investment session.
“SCS meets with officials in charge of enterprise support foundations in the universities nearby four to five times a year,” SCS said. “They share specialized programs on their campus and plan new ones.”
Apart from providing various programs and mentoring, SCS also has a rental service. Students can rent spaces in SCS, and use the amenities such as laptops, beam projectors, screens, and microphones.
“There are not many places where students can hold meetings and seminars free of charge,” a manager from SCS said. “I believe this is the reason why SCS is popular amongst students. I hope students make the best use out of the benefits provided.”