[Viewpoint] Reviving the entrepreneurial spirit

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[Viewpoint] Reviving the entrepreneurial spirit

Do you know the biggest difference between Korean youths and those from other countries nowadays?

This may be a hasty generalization, but I would say it is the high level of risk evasion shown by our youth. The tendency to avoid risk stands out especially in employment, and youths tend to pursue careers at large enterprises or in consulting businesses with high salaries.

Elsewhere, the potential for growth is palpable in venture support systems and universities that encourage their students to accept challenges.

An English professor of business administration at the Royal Khmer University in Cambodia teaches entrepreneurship to his students so that they can overcome the fear of uncertainty and continue blazing a trail to the future. He also believes that such a spirit will become the hope of Cambodia, a nation suffering from poverty.

The word entrepreneur comes from French and literally means “someone who undertakes” a new task.

Entrepreneurs work hard to make their businesses successful and take action to make change instead of waiting for results. Entrepreneurship is the venture spirit.

Economist Joseph Schumpeter defined an entrepreneur as a reformer who leads the “process of creative destruction,” which is the motivating force of capitalism. In this context, the power that allowed Korea to grow from one of the poorest nations in the world to one of its top 10 economies was realized through the spirit of many pioneering entrepreneurs.

The lack of a venture spirit shown by Korean youths these days is a complicated matter, influenced by problems in our national venture infrastructure and incentive system. But the fundamental cause is our rigid and conservative education on business.

As a public accountant in the United States, I had an opportunity to observe many of its enterprises in actual practice. A common element among CEOs of small yet strong companies is that they sense change in the internal and external environments and have the ability to turns those changes to their advantage.

Through an MBA program in Seoul I may be able to take part in, I will be able to confirm the importance of entrepreneurship through various management case studies.

The MBA program analyzes the growth of new ventures and teaches entrepreneurship to its students. I believe that education about entrepreneurship must be included in more undergraduate curriculums. That would allow students to dream about their own businesses and gain the momentum to take on new challenges.

The influence of these programs will bring new growth power to all of Korean society. Venture support programs by the government would also be welcome.

Then our students could turn such programs into actual value. Education on entrepreneurship gives students motivation and experience.

To paraphrase Professor Atul Nerkar, a global master of entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, I hope the history of today’s youth will be that of another Hyundai and Samsung.

*The writer is a public accountant in the United States.

by Pae Ki-pyo
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