With an increase in the number of start-up companies, many students have become interested in starting their own businesses. They discuss their abstract and creative ideas with their peers and try to turn those ideas into reality. The Korean government slowly began to acknowledge the importance of start-ups and support innovative ideas and items in the 1990s. Following such trends, Yonsei University also began to encourage start-ups as they created the Yonsei Enterprise Support Foundation (YESF, located in the Engineering Research Park Building 공학원 211) in 1998.
The purpose of YESF is to encourage students to implement their innovative ideas and items into reality. Since YESF is funded by Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Startups (MSS), Seoul City, and Yonsei University itself, it has substantial means of supporting students. With such resources, YESF provides numerous materials and financial support for any group of students of more than three that is currently attending college within Seoul. It provides an average of 2,000,000 won for every team. In terms of infrastructure, it provides seminar rooms, projectors, cameras, and laptops for free. Clearly, it intends to provide the best environment possible for students to develop their ideas. In addition, a group that is recognized as an outstanding group gets linked with a start-up initiation program to actualize their item or idea into a business.
There are numerous start-ups that successfully consolidated their businesses with the help of YESF. In terms of mobile applications, the college-student application Everytime, or Stubbyplanner, one of Korea’s largest vacation planner application, and the mobile game company DGFrog are companies that started in YESF. Besides such applications, YESF also contributed to creating other kinds of businesses regarding finance, education, games, etc. Although there must have been ideas that failed to be actualized, YESF is a foundation that can provide substantial support to turn an abstract idea into reality. To actualize as many ideas as possible, YESF continues to search for students with innovations.
Besides the support that was mentioned above, YESF provides numerous other programs to students and is very generous in offering financial and material support. Unfortunately, not many students are aware of this foundation. According to YESF, they are doing everything they can to advertise their existence through social media and emails. However, their emails often end up in our spam folders since we barely read any email from our school. Hopefully, students’ awareness about this foundation will gradually increase so that they can take advantage of its resources and the opportunity to implement their innovative ideas and items.
Today, we always see the dire news regarding the high unemployment rate of the Korean society. People want to find high paying jobs by entering large corporations such as Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, or they desire stable jobs and try to enter the civil service or work in the public sector. Although such jobs can be honorable and even prestigious, I wonder if such jobs give us the feeling of purposefulness that motivates us. I believe that envisioning our own ideas and actualizing them to create something entirely new can help us discover a sense of purpose. With that said, YESF is the foundation that acts as a catalyst to bring students’ innovation to reality. Through them, students may be able to engage in something they find greatly purposeful and contribute something new to our society.