Ministry asks colleges to give young entrepreneurs a leg up

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Mar 25, 2014 - 21:10
  • Updated : Mar 25, 2014 - 21:10
The government said Tuesday it had asked South Korean universities to provide programs for students looking to start businesses.

In a bid to boost start-ups by young entrepreneurs, the Education Ministry’s guidelines will allow students to prepare for their start-ups while still in school.

“We hope the manual will supplement the existing school systems that support business start-ups, and set the groundwork for training talented students equipped with entrepreneurship,” an official from the Education Ministry said.

“With the average age (of people) nearing 100, most people are likely to run their own enterprise at least once, especially after they’ve retired,” he said. “The government is aiming to implement a social climate where people are not reluctant to start their own businesses.”

The extended leave of absence program, which allows students to take up to two years off to set up businesses, was only adopted by 15 colleges as of December 2013. The ministry said the program will be available at 95 colleges by the second semester of 2014.

Applicants must receive a nod from a college committee or kick off their businesses a month prior to applying for the extended leave of absence. The program will not be available for start-ups in fields such as real estate, restaurants, lodging, night clubs, golf courses and ski resorts.

This, a ministry official said, is because the manual aims to help students who are seeking to start businesses based on their ideas, not those just seeking to make money.

The manual also advised schools to give college credits to students partaking in activities that helped them prepare for their new businesses. A student who receives on-the-job training at a company in a related field can receive up to 19 credits.

Students taking part in a club for business start-ups can receive up to six college credits on a pass-fail basis. A full-time faculty member of the respective college must participate as an adviser.

The program, however, will not be applied retroactively, according to the ministry. For example, a student cannot receive credits for on-the-job training completed last year.

In addition, the government urged colleges to share their courses related to business start-ups, which will allow students to take a variety of courses from different colleges.

By Yoon Min-sik (