Ewha Womans University and Seodaemun-gu were selected by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to proceed with the 2020 Seoul Campus Town project early this year. It is a three-year project, starting from 2020 and ending in 2022. Ewha will be receiving up to 1.5 billion won in investments.
The name of Ewha’s Seoul Campus Town project is Estilo Town. Estilo being Spanish for ‘style,’ this project will focus on combining style with technology and develop start-up programs for youth and engaging in regional co-prosperity. The name is an acronym for Ewha Styletech Town, Ideathon, Lean startup, Open Innovation, Tech Academy, Open campus and With Network.
The government first started selecting universities to engage in creating campus towns in 2016, aiming to reach co-prosperity between youth and local communities. It strives to provide solutions for youth problems such as unemployment and housing through cultural, commercial, and regional cooperation.
Seodaemun-gu announced in May that they plan to connect Ewha and Yonsei University’s campus town projects with the pre-existing startup facilities in Sinchon. The area surrounding Sinchon and Ewha Womans University Station will be renamed the Sinchon Venture Valley, consisting of Sinchon Boxquare, Youth Start-up Incubation Centers, Sinchon Parang Kore, and more, further strengthening this region for youth.
Hwang Seung-ju, manager of Entrepreneurship Center provided the timeline for Estilo Town. In the first half of 2020, the school recruited students to participate in style-tech-related startup clubs. A competition was held to gather youth-startup teams with the best ideas to move into the Styletech Lab. The rest of the year is about providing deeper startup education. Youth will be encouraged to engage in Style Commerce Academies, regional classes, various seminars, and brunch clubs with local merchants and startup representatives.
A StyleTech Experience Studio will open to be used as a testbed, exhibition space and pop-up store. The opening of the studio, which was supposed to take place in July, has been delayed to late September due to COVID-19.
Ewha Voice interviewed Na Seung-yeon, an alumna who doubled-majored Korean Language & Literature and Fashion Industry and graduated in 2010. Her item, a platform for sharing medium to high-priced fashion items, won second place in the competition.
“The idea for our platform, Collette Seoul, came to me a long time ago,” Na said. “Since I loved fashion and shopping so much, I had a lot of clothes and accessories, but most were out of date due to the speedily changing fashion trends. Although I had difficulty utilizing these items, my sisters and friends were able to put them to good use. I was able to expand this experience into a business model with the financial and material support I received from this program.”
Hwang, from the Entrepreneurship Center, emphasized the purpose of the program.
“Estilo Town is meant to give startup opportunities to Ewha alumni,” Hwang added. “I believe this program will lower the entry barrier for fields related to lifestyle like beauty and fashion, later extending to inner beauty and food startups.”
Hwang said that the school will host routine seminars to help develop insight on the rapidly changing style and market trends. Furthermore, students will receive networking opportunities between startup investors and accelerators as well as counseling sessions regarding startup-related legislation.
Similarly, Yonsei University’s campus town is also recruiting, nurturing, and educating startup youth to contribute to Sinchon Venture Valley. Its main building, S3, is named after the slogan Start-up Starts in Sinchon. It is comprised of collaborative workspaces for startup teams as well as a Welcome Home Center, which welcomes university graduates to accumulate experience to start their own companies. S3 is due to be completed and ready for use in September.