A Platform For Entrepreneurs: Seoul Startups

Seoul Startups Informational Interview

In my continuous search to connect and highlight entrepreneurs involved in the startup scene in South Korea, I was referred to Seoul Startups.

Seoul Startups is administered by Marta, a native from Poland, who has lived in Korea for 14 years. After years of working in a corporation, she has transitioned to a freelancer with the goal of assisting entrepreneurs in Korea.

Recently, I spoke to Marta about the Seoul Startups and the community she’s building. Here’s a summary of the tips and advice she gave for entrepreneurs.

1. What problem is Seoul Startups solving and who is your target audience?

Seoul Startups is an online and offline platform for foreigners and Koreans to connect with others on the startup scene in South Korea. It’s a place where people can share tips, advice, and information about doing business in Korea.

2. What is your role in Seoul Startups? Can you tell me about other people involved and their roles?

I’m the administrator of the community and I organize our meetings/networking events. Right now, the community has about 460 active people who include students, native Koreans, Government employees, and startup entrepreneurs.

3. How do you get your product or service to entrepreneurs? I.e. Marketing, Partnerships, etc.

● Word Of Mouth

● Coworking spaces at Google for Startups Seoul & We-Work

● Post On Social Media

● Press

4. Seoul Startups funding is provided by the Government, nonprofit incorporated or self-funded?

I took Seoul Startups over from two foreigners who previously implemented the idea and were leaving South Korea. Right now, it’s entirely on a volunteer basis from other entrepreneurs in the community who want to get involved and help organize the community.

5. Seoul Startups had an event in February can you tell me a little bit about that event and its purpose? In addition, are there any upcoming events and or projects planned that you can share?

The purpose of the event was to have people in the industry meet with each other to discuss the startup scene in Korea. After an initial ice breaking introductions, I broke the attendees into teams of three and had them write 5 things they don’t like about the Korean startup scene, 5 things they do like and 5 things they can do to change the environment.

Another meeting is planned later this month at another co-working space.

6. What is the long-term vision for Seoul Startups?

Be a voice on the Korea startups scene, be respected in the local Startup Scene. For Koreans and foreigners to share with one another and have the mentality that we can help each other and really become a global hub for innovation.

7. What are the biggest mistakes you believe are made by startup entrepreneurs in Korea?

The two biggest mistakes are: Entrepreneurs come to Korea without researching and they don’t have a network base. They will struggle a lot if they don’t speak Korean or have a Korean business partner to do the administrative and cultural part of the business.

Korean Business Tip: I believe that it’s better to hire a Korean employee so that they can assist your business while helping you obtain cultural awareness of Korean society. In addition, entrepreneurs should attend Korean business events even if the program is only in Korean so that they can network.

8. Can you tell me what are some online resources you believe are helpful for learning more about starting a business overseas?

I believe that Seoul Startups is a great resource for learning about starting a business. Also, check out National IT Promotion Agency (NIPA) and my own website Angry Polish Girl for information on the Korean Startup Scene.

9. Can you tell me about your freelance consultancy business in S. Korea? How do you market/promote your business?

My freelance consultancy business offer: Localized business development and marketing strategies, plan and design investor pitches, for startups & SMEs in Korea.

I market my business through referrals I obtain while networking and attending events within Korea.

10. What advice would you give aspiring Entrepreneurs who want to make it in Korea?

Don’t be afraid of failing, failure is not the end result it’s a process. Develop your soft skills and be able to go in a room and explain in one sentence your business and what problem it solves.

*Soft skills def: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

Marta Linkedin Bio: Combining experience in high tech and telecommunications (Samsung, isit fresh), knowledge in Korean and corporate cultures and the enthusiasm of a forever-young zen-terpreneur.

– In-depth knowledge and ‘feeling’ for Korean business culture – Experienced public speaker and presenter, both in business and motivational, community building settings – Diverse network in technology and entrepreneur communities in Korea and Poland

Passionate about empowerment of those starting from a less privileged position in the business and technology industries.

Read more information about Marta on her website Angry Polish Girl for stories on Startups, cocktails, and life in Seoul.

Written By: Erica Dozier | Interviewed: March 15, 2019, KST

Erica is a freelance writer, entrepreneur, and creator of Korean Convenience.

Disclaimer: This blog/website is made available by Korean Convenience for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the business scene in South Korea, not to provide specific business advice. This blog/website should not be used as a substitute for competent business advice from a licensed professional in your state/country.

Looking for more information on starting a business in Korea? Check out these articles:

  1. Starting A Business In Korea
  2. Startup Assistance in Seoul
  3. Small Business Interview: Brandon Walcutt, Kohsi Design Centre
  4. Path To Obtaining A Startup Visa In South Korea
  5. Twelve Tips For E-commerce Startups

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