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Title 419th STEPI Science & Technology Policy Forum-Discussing Start-ups with Young Scientists
Date 2018-04-18 Hit 370  

  Science & Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) held the 419th STEPI Science&Technology Policy Forumu nder the theme of “Discussing Start-ups with Young Scientists” at the Science Hall of University of Science and Technology (UST) on April 18. The forum included ‘Young Innovators Talk’ event which has been organized by STEPI since 2013. This year, UST and Korea Entrepreneurship Foundation (KOEF) also participated in the talk as co-hosts.


  Congressman Seoung-Lae Jo (representing Yuseong-gu A, Daejeon), Dr. Hwang-Hee Cho, President of STEPI, Dr. Kil-Choo Moon, President of UST, various experts and researchers from government-funded research institutes as well as students who are interested in business start-up took part in the forum, where young entrepreneurs shared their successful start-up stories and discussed about starting business amongst young scientists.


  CEO Boo-Ki Kim of Standard Energy, which develops a new form of secondary battery, and Strategy Director Se-Hwa Hong of Byrobot, which manufactures drones and other robots being applied in real life, made presentations about their start-up experience. After the presentations, a discussion was followed with a panel of experts including Sun-Woo Kim, head of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Studies of STEPI, Seo-Kyun Kim, head of the SME Cooperation Division of ETRI, and Soo-Hong Kim, head of Cultural Diffusion Team of KOEF under the moderation of Prof. Jeong-Min Park of UST.


  As former scientists transformed to business founders, the presenters mostly focused on their know-how accumulated while running start-ups. They both addressed technology development and management.
First, regarding technology development, they highlighted that the development of efficient and competitive technology is the very basic of successful start-up. They also stated that entrepreneurs should find a way to develop efficient technology that meets consumers’ needs through precise understanding of industrial ecosystem, and technology with competitiveness in multiple aspects should be first developed since marketable technology is essential for new companies.

 

  Second, from corporate management perspective, they mentioned that reckless challenge should be avoided, however, surmountable hardship could be strong motivation. According to them, start-up companies should secure their competitive edge by understanding distribution structure and competitors, and think in investors’ point of view, but work with investors who could relate to the company’s business plan. They also added an advice that not only investors but also who you actually work with are quite important.
 

  From the followed panel discussion, a variety of ways to encourage business start-up by young scientists and top-level researchers were produced. Through Q&A session with the audience, the panelists shared their opinions on success and failure factors of technology start-ups.

 

  First of all, it was stated that, in order to tackle the lack of quality jobs for highly educated workforce, entrepreneurship education and research-based support for start-ups are required. More specifically, measures to be led by the private sector, e.g. increased participation of large companies to promote technology start-up, and mentor-mentee system utilizing highly experienced retirees were proposed. Furthermore, for the improved perception of entrepreneurs, many emphasized the need to open up opportunities for entrepreneur as an occupation.

 

  In the meantime, it was pointed out that it is difficult to know the current status of high-quality workforce. And some mentioned that we need an in-depth discussion if it is a right thing to just promote technology-based start-up under the circumstances where graduate students studying science and engineering can’t conduct research independently. Also, more practical support measures were discussed such as making infrastructures like the introduction and activation of compulsory program for future start-ups and providing capital investment in technology start-ups to assist their actual business operation.


 

  During Q&A session, success and failure factors for technology start-up were debated. Most of the participants agreed that we need to change our perception of start-up and university education system since other countries have settled environment where students with good ideas or competitive technology are encouraged and supported to establish start-ups. For major failure causes in Korea, some suggested that we are just too obsessed with technology development without following the quickly changing domestic and overseas trend, which leads to the lack of system to deal with certain mistake or failure in new business.

 

  Today, news about the seriousness of youth unemployment has become nothing special. While the government has continued its effort to reduce youth unemployment by promoting business start-up, many in the field still think that there is no sufficient support or infrastructure in place. Hopefully, the experiences of the successful entrepreneurs and the opinions of related researchers exchanged in the forum will be a foundation for improving the environment for future scientists’ start-up in Korea.