Teaching business skills in the Hermit Kingdom

We were profiled in the Korean Herald:

Teaching business principles to communists in the world’s most isolated state may seem a thankless task, but for the NGO’s founder Geoffrey See it can engage the so-called Hermit Kingdom in a constructive and a-political way.

State-run enterprises are already working to attract international business and foreign investment in joint ventures. With infrastructure investment in areas such as the Raseon special economic zone, there is a thirst for commercial knowledge there like never before.

“The old generation in North Korea has very little incentive to experiment,” Abrahamian said. “This is true in any country ― younger generations tend to be open to new ideas. There’s definitely that sense in North Korea too, the young people are more interested in broader way of doing things. In that sense North Korea is going to change.”

While North Korean startups tend to be smaller branches of state enterprises, Abrahamian explained that the growing number of joint ventures with international companies has created the need of better understanding of how to manage assets and resolve disputes. Seminar attendees have asked for help in setting up ventures from chicken restaurants to a spa resort, areas that can prove lucrative if they can position themselves at the top of a state-run venture.

“The last couple of years have seen a bit of a shift in North Korea so there is more of a focus on economic issues,” he said.

“You are seeing some developments at their special economic zones in the far north, there have been positive developments there, they revised laws regarding foreign firms operating in North Korea last year and we can see the international trade numbers soaring upwards especially vis--vis the Chinese.”

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