KU's future engine of growth and financial health
In 2017, KU received research funding of 310.5 billion won to conduct basic and applied research, an increase since 2013 which is 45% greater than that of other competing universities. With funding from the 2018 total project fund, the Department of Technology Licensing and Commercialization at KU Research and Business Foundation is conducting a national research project worth over 10 billion won. In addition, technology transfers achieved a profit of 3,670 million won in 2017, putting KU in the top rank among national private schools, and the profit derived from technology transfers in the past three years (2015~2017) reached 10,710 million won. Revenues from the securing of intellectual property rights have demonstrated a steady increase as well, with 828 domestic patent applications and 244 international applications in 2017, making KU yet again the top-ranked university in this regard among private schools in Korea.
In 2017, in the Technology Transfer·Commercialization Index, based on a survey of the research·education sector conducted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, KU was selected as the best-performing institution, ranking number 1 in Korea. Also, KU received an A grade, which is the highest level, in the comprehensive evaluation of the BRIDGE (Beyond Research Innovation and Development for Good Enterprises) project that is currently being carried out. Based on these achievements, KU is firmly establishing value-added via Industry-Academia-Research cooperation in the various fields of the knowledge industry.
KU is also taking the initiative in fostering innovative startups through transforming itself into an entrepreneurial university. By creating π-ville, which is a space for students to develop creative ideas, KU is striving to create a continuous startup ecosystem. The establishment of a system which enables the creation of various profits streams through university technology commercialization will contribute to the finances of universities as well as the development of various curriculums that enhance students’ entrepreneurial instincts, and the resultant development of startups. Such changes are expected to move beyond solving employment issues, and to create new added value in society and enhance national competitiveness, by establishing a positive-cycle ecosystem.
Fostering Talented Startup Entrepreneurs
With the full support of the government, ‘young adults’ startups’ centering around universities have rapidly expanded, and the justification and necessity for this focus has been emphasized by the press and by experts in terms of the need to take up the challenge of globalization. However, those who have witnessed the double-sidedness of a ‘venture boom’ have begun to regard this recent phenomenon with some concern. However, since there is trust in the capacity of society to learn from its mistakes and faith in the abilities and level-headedness of young adults, there is also expectation that a more sophisticated ‘startup culture’ can be fostered that is different from that of the past. For the past few years, through entrepreneurial startup training KU has been supporting students unsparingly and continuously at every stage, from idea generation to the establishment of ventures. The most representative examples of this support are the ‘Campus CEO’ Project run by the Seoul Business Agency, and the ‘SK Soaring Young Adult’ Program run by the Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development. The students who completed startup courses as part of the aforementioned initiatives are demonstrating extraordinary energy and knowhow in meeting the challenge and generating the momentum necessary to start and maintain their startups.
supports young adults' startups in various other ways, such as by providing overseas
university startup lectures, overseas investors’ presentations, and overseas
corporation dispatch activities.
For example one such group of students, the “Job-shopper” team, developed an artificial intelligence-based app that helps adolescents explore their career options. The team’s representative (Ki Won Kwon, Department of Business Administration) completed all the ‘Campus CEO’ theoretical and practical courses, in doing so cultivating sharp startup instincts, based on which he developed the app and received good scores in startup competitions on and off campus. He also gained financial support from a government program for the production costs of the prototype and a startup feasibility study. With this support, the team entered the 2017 K-Startup competition hosted by the Ministry of Education, and was awarded first place at the Industry-Academia-Research Cooperation EXPO Trial Product Exhibition, based on on-the-spot evaluation and market assessment, receiving a prize from the Deputy Prime Minister, who is also the Minister of Education. Kwon began devising the app when he was giving speeches about the uncertainty he experienced during his high school years in terms of his career options, and he had actually attempted other startups upon entering university, but all had fallen short. As a result, he recognized the necessity of startup education and began enthusiastically participating in startup support programs, resulting in today’s achievement.
Many students are interested in and apply for the ‘Campus CEO’ course, but it is not easy to succeed in starting a business. It is a very challenging thing to attempt, and students begin with mere ideas and a lack of experience. However, now students can gain greater expertise in terms of forming their own startup prior to doing it in reality.
As an example, the students who have participated in the ‘Campus CEO’ course are reported to have excellent communication skills. This is because starting a business means explaining to others about their work and persuading them about its value, a dimension which they rehearsed exhaustively on the course. In tandem with their inherent vision, the students develop the power to persuade.
Promoting Convergent Future Knowledge Industries via Industry-Academia-Research Cooperation
In 2017, KU was selected as the Industry-Academia-Research Cooperation acceleration university of the Leaders in Industry-university (college) Cooperation+ project (LINC+), and will receive support of 22.8 billion won over the course of five years. The LINC+ project aims to build an ‘Industry-Academia-Research Cooperation Ecosystem’ by having universities play a key role in such cooperation, through which talented young people discover routes to employment and to forming their own startups, local companies gain access to excellent technology and skilled manpower, and local governments build development models based on the distinctive characteristics of the local community.
Through new Industry-Academia-Research cooperative arrangements, universities foster not just people with job experience but experts who develop skills, which leads to the creation of good job opportunities. Unlike previous top-down projects, KU promotes bottom-up methods by means of which universities develop autonomous business models.
appointed LG Electronics Inc. as a KU Crimson Corporation on June 19, and
provided its own creative corporation support platform, thus continuing the
special cooperative relationship with the company.
“KU Crimson Corporations” Staying Ahead through Technology
KU Crimson Corporations, with ‘Corporations & KU Staying Ahead through Technology’ as its slogan, is a business run by KU based on the policy of henceforth providing the KU family of corporations with the highest level of Industry-Academia-Research cooperation services. These services are available to small or mid-sized firms with high quality technology. Among the over 1,500 companies that have participated in various industry-academia-research cooperation agreements with KU, those with outstanding technology that were interested in maintaining a special cooperative relationship with KU were selected. Moving forward, KU is planning to run industry-academia-research programs with KU Crimson Corporations which will involve sustained close contact between all parties, in areas including the perfection of difficult techniques, the promotion of cooperative tasks, the joint development and transfer of future technologies, and the establishment of industry-tailored curriculums in KU.
Connecting Young Entrepreneurs with Training and Investment
With the support of the government in terms of activities such as technology base commercialization, the performance of the Korea University Holdings has drawn much attention. This year, the company was selected for the University Startup Fund Development Project supported by the Ministry of Education and the Korea Venture Investment Corporation, and as the bio-specialized operating company of TIPS in Korea (Tech Incubator Program for Startups, Korea), which is a technology startup platform that intensively fosters promising future startup technologies. As a result, it is now possible to discover new firms which will develop technologies that can lead the world market, and in this way a new driving force behind startup support activities has been created. The KU holdings will utilize this opportunity to identify six initial startup companies and invest seed money of thirty million won in each.
In addition, the ‘Startup Institute’ within the Business School, the first of its kind in Korea, is running a program that discovers outstanding student-entrepreneurs and supports them in the development of their startups. The Startup Institute selects companies to which it grants occupancy each semester through ‘Startup Express’, which is a competitive startup exhibition. To each of the companies that are selected after a cutthroat competition, with the odds of selection at ten to one, the Institute provides operating expenses of up to five million won, a startup training space in the Iljin Center for Startup Incubation on the second floor of the Business School, and an education program run by the Seung Myung-Ho Center for Entrepreneurship Education for Young Adult Entrepreneurs, through which prospective entrepreneurs can obtain practical support. Also, ‘CHOO CHOO DAY’ is hosted twice a year, at which students can introduce fully-formed business models to interested investors such as Accelerators, Angel Investors, and Venture Capitalists, who support startups in making the leap to the next level.
In addition to startup research, ‘π-Ville’, the KU village or mini-campus for pioneering entrepreneurs and others, provides space not only to startups, but also to students who want to create new knowledge in various areas such as culture, art and performance, or to participate in volunteer activities, so that they learn the skills necessary for pioneering activities. Professors at KU as well as entrepreneurs and businesspeople from various fields are invited to provide mentoring programs, and consultations regarding investment, patents, accounting, and law is also provided in order to reduce the difficulties that young entrepreneurs often encounter in the early stages of a startup. Moreover, the Crimson Start-up Support Foundation is continuing its efforts to expand the startup culture among KU students by frequently hosting startup courses such as Campus CEO, and holding special lectures on actual startups, startup brownbag meetings, startup competitions. It also provides production support for trial products, and startup mentoring services. Also, various startup-related services, such as the Start-up Leader Program, support for startup discovery, and training for the companies selected for occupancy, are being run.