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Path To Obtaining A Startup Visa In South Korea

Business Startup Visa

Seoul Global Center Experience & Resources

New Moon with a Lunar Eclipse, new agenda for the remainder of the year.  My journey first started because I wanted to meet new friends.  Now I know what you’re thinking, there are several options for meeting new friends while living abroad.  Anyone can search on Google using the keywords, “Foreigner Meetup Groups In Seoul” and any number of meetup groups will populate near Itaewon (이태원) and Hongdae (흥 대).  

However, I have that annoying problem of being initially shy and quiet.  Usually, instead of mixing and mingling, I sip on a carbonated drink and munch on overly-salted french fries.  I wanted a place where I could meet foreigners, have a conversation starter and solve my problem with washing clothes by opening a laundromat.  The laundromat near my new dorm I discovered costs $5,000 won ($4.7 U.S. approx.) to wash and another $5,000 won to dry.  Opening a laundromat was a simple idea that didn’t involve having a face-to-face interaction with customers on a daily basis and I could make a decent living.     

Seoul Global Center

I discovered the Seoul Global Center while I was researching free orientations on expat life in Seoul.  The center offers drivers license, mobile purchasing service of new and used phones, business professional consultations (Accounting, Tax, Foreign Direct Investment, and IP), banking & financial counseling services, and a free business start-up school.  The business class provided another possibility of living in South Korea without attending school and that was obtaining a Startup Visa.  

The free business start-up school provides the ability to earn points in order to obtain a D-8-4 Start-up Visa.  For more information on the Visa process, you can check out the Korean Intellectual Property Assistance point system.  The initial application process was fairly easy.  I completed a one-page application and then submitted the application via email.  Once I was accepted into the program I was asked to provide a front and back copy of my Alien Registration Card

Business Start-up

The first class I took was the 1st Business Start-up School course, a free two-week program, titled Oasis 4.  The class gathered at The Seoul Global Center every night from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on the fifth floor.  The class covers such topics as writing Corporation Formation, Writing An Effective Business Plan, Labor Laws, Marketing, and Business Taxes in South Korea.  Prior to the first day of class, I was sent via email the course curriculum, subway directions, and emergency contact information.  

I was both excited about the class and worried about the amount of time I would need to dedicate to completing the class.  My new weekly schedule consisted of attending Korean Language program class from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m, grabbing dinner at Hankuk University faculty cafeteria, and then riding the subway for thirty minutes to Seoul Global Center to attend business startup class.  

The first night at business class I was excited to meet fellow entrepreneurs.  We were given a resource guide that provided contact information for our instructors and blank pages to write notes.  While we waited for the class to begin free coffee and light snacks were served.       

Throughout the class, presenters provided great reference materials such as a summary of insurance rates and a severance pay automatic calculation spreadsheet.  After the class was complete, I took a free advanced online marketing class.  The class is offered by two previous startup attendees who now run a successful Marketing business in South Korea.  

If you want to check out more about their company you can check out their website at World Markets Korea, they have great resources, including a recent blog post on SEO practices for South Korea.  In my opinion, I believe the most valuable resource, however, was the opportunity to network with fellow entrepreneurs.  Many of whom I still keep in contact with through Facebook and our Kakao chat group.

Helpful Websites

I have included some helpful websites for readers who are looking for more information about starting a business with a Start-up Visa in South Korea.  You can check previously patented inventions at Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service and obtain pricing information for Intellectual Property translation services.  

Additionally, if you want to find information on Intellectual Property filing paperwork and how much it costs to file a patent in South Korea check out Korean Intellectual Property Office.  To read more about South Korea competitive e-commerce retail platforms check out  Lastly, if you want to obtain information about locations, previous lease and business concepts with real estate properties you can check out Supreme Court of Korea’s website.     

Final Thoughts    

I decided I would share what I’m currently working on since I have returned to Los Angeles, CA, last year.  It has been a journey of highs and lows, some of the lows include, the learning curve that I was not prepared to encounter with opening a business overseas.  I have learned to tackle the issues I face just as I have with starting this blog, one task at a time and trying to remain positive with using the famous quote, “Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining” as my mantra.  

Stay tuned for future posts on my adventure with starting a business.  Future posts will include my experience with obtaining financial advising, location-specific advantages with rental properties, and eventually my preparations to move back to South Korea.    

If you want to read about additional small business opportunities in South Korea check out my blog post on:

  1. Entrepreneur Korea Interview
  2. A Platform For Entrepreneurs: Seoul Startups
  3. Starting A Business In Korea
  4. Non-Teaching Jobs: South Korea
  5. Black Business Owner In South Korea
  6. Korean Convenience Store Lessons
  7. Startup Visa Intellectual Property Rights Presentations   

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Startup Assistance in Seoul

Startup Assistance In Seoul

Startup Competitions and Meetup Groups in South Korea

Obtaining positive reviews from consumers is crucial to any business future success.  The term “Word-Of-Mouth” is one of the words that perfectly describe South Korea’s business culture.  If you’re interested in the startup scene in South Korea check out these resources to assist foreigners with business development.

K-Startup Grand Challenge

The “K-Startup Grand Challenge” is administered by the Korean Government and the competition slogan states “Accelerate Your Startup In Korea.”  Their mission is to help 50 entrepreneurs with setting up their business in South Korea.  They offer access to meet and possibly collaborate with major Korean companies such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai Motors.  The competition is held once a year and the application period begins in early March.

Competition highlights include:

  • 4 Month Accelerating Program held in South Korea
  • Free Office Space with One on One Mentoring
  • Coaching on Asian Business Culture
  • Business necessities – Tax Laws, Patents and Accounting Regulations
  • Financial incentives – Audition Prize, Demo Day, Living Expenses and Grants

Google Campus Seoul

The program aims to offer “Resources, Classes and Connections” where you can learn from the best that Google has to offer.  The program offers a cafe on sight to enjoy coffee and free wi-fi, event space to host an event and a free six-month workspace residency at Google headquarters.

Program highlights include:

  • Campus Meetup – Connect with Like-Minded People
  • Campus Mentoring  – Access to Experienced Entrepreneurs
  • Campus Presents – Extinguished Presenters Presents Relevant Business Topics
  • Campus Startup School – Hands-on Training in UX design, Venture Capital Meetings, and Product Management
  • Campus Connections – Meet with Investors and Large Corporations
  • Campus Exchange – Network with Entrepreneurs from Google Campuses in London, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv, and Warsaw

Oasis 3 – Idea Right Competition Support

The program is organized by the Korea Invention Promotion Association and the Seoul Global Center.  The program is targeted towards foreigners who are interested in forming a startup within South Korea.  The competition is a part of the larger Oasis Assistance for Startup Immigration courses.  To find out more information about the Oasis courses and dates available check out OASIS Startup Visa.

Startup Meetup Groups

Startup Weekend Seoul

This three-day meetup offers designers, developers, and entrepreneurs the chance to connect with one another.  Once an alliance is formed teams will be able to build a successful business portfolio with the help of mentors, coaches, and fellow entrepreneurs.  Find more information on their Facebook Group or email their meetup group at

Startup Alliance

This meetup is presented by the Navar Corporation.  The Startup Alliance offers meetup, seminars, and conferences to connect entrepreneurs in launching their business through Global Expansion.  Additionally, they offer pro-bono legal advice and accounting counseling to facilitate a better startup ecosystem.

Recent startups occurring throughout Asia include E-wallets, ridesharing, and staff-less store chains.  After participating in the Oasis program run by the Seoul Global Center I am left with this quote from David Karp, Tumbler founder, “Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and wants to create.”

If you’re looking for more resources about starting a business in South Korea check out my posts on:

  1. Free Korean Language Classes Online
  2. Starting A Business In Korea
  3. A Platform For Entrepreneurs: Seoul Startups
  4. Non-Teaching Jobs: South Korea
  5. Entrepreneur Korea Interview
  6. Digital Marketing: Small Business Strategy​
  7. Small Business Interview: Brandon Walcutt, Kohsi Design Centre






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Free Korean Language Classes Online

Free Korean Language Classes Online, Pictures Of Korean Cultural Center In Los Angeles, CA

Methods To Study Hangul Online

Have you ever imagined what it’s like to go into a store and not be able to read any of the food packagings?   It has been suggested that before you travel to South Korea you learn basic Hangul.  While you can travel to Korea without knowing the language odds are you will experience the language barrier at some point in your journey.

Just take a moment and think about how many steps involve purchasing a product at a convenience store.  If you don’t want to spend five dollars on a bottle of water that the hotel provides this is a trip that you will experience while traveling and if you’re like me there are always products that you didn’t plan on purchasing once you’re browsing the aisles.

If you can’t understand the deals (1+1, 2+2 and 2+1) think of all the money that you will be wasting.  Money that could be spent on purchasing souvenirs and delicious street food.  Here are a few websites that will allow you study Hangul anywhere in the world.


King Sejong Institute

The organization provides a standard curriculum that aims to teach Hangul through covering all four parts of communication: speaking, reading, writing and listening.  Start off with basic conversation and learn how to properly introduce yourself and learn the names of various countries in Hangul.

*Tip – Look for the arrow pointing down on the right-hand side of the main menu to change the language into your preference.  Languages available include Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Spanish Thai, and Vietnamese.

If you want to begin your studies with a hard copy textbook check out Integrated Korean Beginning 1, 2nd Edition (Klear Textbooks in Korean Language).

Sogang University

If you’re looking to study the proper writing techniques of Hangul check out Sogang University Korean program.  Although the website doesn’t provide any sound you’re given the principles of Hangul, the alphabet, stroke letters and a practice worksheet.  An additional bonus is that you’re allowed to print the practice worksheets for writing practice.

YouTube Channels


With over 300,000 thousand subscribers this YouTube channel is a fun way to watch audio and videos on learning Hangul.  Additional resources the company provides is a website to sign-up for their podcast, mobile applications, PDF lesson notes and community forum at

Talk To Me In Korean

With over 400,000 thousand subscribers this YouTube channel aims to connect people wanting to learn Hangul and the Korean culture.  The channel offers one-minute lessons, recipes, useful phrases, study tips, and buzzwords.  Additional resources are provided through textbooks, E-books, and workbooks.  Alternatively, you can purchase their textbooks Talk To Me In Korean Level 1 – Downloadable Audio Files Included (English and Korean Edition).

Honorable Mention

While the advanced course “Learn To Speak Korean” at Yonsei University is not free it is worth mentioning.  The University was established in the 1800’s and is one of the oldest private Universities in Korea.  Additionally, the University offers financial aid to individuals who can’t afford to pay the fees.  Lastly, the University does offer a summer and a three-week program in Korea to receive hands-on learning.  You can find more information at Korean Language Institute

If you want to read more tips for traveling to South Korea check out:

  1.  How I Saved Money To Travel
  2. Korean Convenience Store Lessons
  3. 7 Things To Do After Applying To A Korean Language Program
  4. What To Expect The First Week Studying Abroad
  5. Non-Teaching Jobs: South Korea