[Sponsored Report] For entrepreneurs, failure is part of the process

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[Sponsored Report] For entrepreneurs, failure is part of the process


Cho Yong-kap, a tenor who used to be a boxer, gives an inspiring speech in front of 400 people attending the Entrepreneurship Conference on Sept. 30, 2014, at Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, central Seoul. [JoongAng Ilbo]

The JoongAng Ilbo hosted the Entrepreneurship Conference last Tuesday inside the Crystal Ballroom at Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, central Seoul. The event was sponsored by Amway Korea and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The conference aimed to illustrate the meaning of contemporary entrepreneurship.

The room was filled with 400 people, and more than half of them were in their 20s or 30s. The seating application closed earlier than expected because of the heated interest in the popular lecturers who had been invited to the conference.

Under the theme “Awaken Your Inner E-Spirit,” many world-renowned speakers including Steve Van Andel, the chairman of Amway, and Dwight Carey, a professor of strategic management at the Fox School of Business, Temple University, gave inspiring speeches to the audience. The lecturers also included a number of familiar figures such as Seo Soo-min, the producer of the KBS comedy show “Gag Concert”; Choi Jong-il, the chairman of Iconix Entertainment, which produced the cartoon character Pororo the Little Penguin; Ko San, a former astronaut who became the CEO of the Tide Institute; and Cho Yong-kap, a former boxer-turned-singer.

Entrepreneurship is a word that cannot be clearly defined in one sentence as it conveys different values depending on time and place. However, the fundamental element to entrepreneurship is for companies to make profit while also being socially responsible. Also, the ability to foresee future trends, creativity and the courage to jump into unknown markets are all considered the essence of the term.


Steve Van Andel, the chairman of Amway, emphasizes that everybody has the potential to achieve what they long for, as long as they are not afraid to fail.

The famous Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter wrote in the book “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” that entrepreneurs are the ones who lead creative destruction by innovating technology for products and production. He also defined entrepreneurship as developing new products, adopting new methods, pioneering a new market, taking on different materials, forming fresh organizations and reforming productivity.

When business leaders sincerely take on their roles to serve their communities while managing companies with fair competition, excellent customer service, in-house welfare and training for employees, then they can be called entrepreneurs.

This word may not be familiar to the general public as it is usually considered a concept for companies or their groups exclusively. The Entrepreneurship Conference aimed to set a bridge between the term and anybody who is interested in starting his or her own business.

The speakers for the conference were businessmen and professionals who are actively taking part in the market. Their lectures focused on making clear what is expected from today’s corporations and leaders and what kind of creativity is needed to be successful in the market.

Van Andel, the Amway chairman, delivered the keynote address and shared his company’s entrepreneurial philosophy. He told the story of his father Jay Van Andel and his friend Rich DeVos, the two founders of Amway whom he believes are the representatives of entrepreneural spirit. The co-founders were fearless in trying out their business ideas regardless of multiple failures. Van Andel also mentioned the Park Geun-hye administration’s creative economy initiatives in his speech to stress that “there is no better time than now” to start a business.

“If you have an idea, take a chance,” said Van Andel in his address. “Don’t let fear hold you back.”

Iconix Chairman Choi, while giving a lecture on how he made a creative program, also stressed the importance of perseverance. He described successful people as those who keep trying despite failure, not the ones who have never experienced failure. He also said that it is always better to have a back-up plan to quickly overcome failures.

KBS producer Seo Soo-min shared her story behind the success of the program “Gag Concert.” At first, the comedians were too nervous to perform their best because they thought they should please the producer to keep their jobs. Walking on eggshells limited their capacity to generate new ideas. However, after she announced that she wouldn’t fire any of them for trying to do what they really wanted, diverse ideas poured out of her fellow workers.

“Do not let bread bind your mind, but be obstinate for your desire,” said Seo in her lecture.

Other presenters such as Ko San, a former astronaut, and Cho Yong-kap, a former boxer, also provided visitors with interesting stories on challenging their own identities to transform into what they are now.

The lecturers all had one thing in common: they were people who triumphed over failure and stereotypes.

“We hope the conference provided insight to those who want to start their businesses in new fields,” said a JoongAng Ilbo official.

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