The year 2015 started on a challenging and demoralizing note: DPR Korea imposed a 21-day quarantine on all visitors to the country, amounting to a near travel ban. Despite the uncertainty, we continued planning for programs. As soon as the ban was lifted in March, we organized a session on startups in Singapore, and visited Pyongyang for a business workshop.
Throughout the year, we tested three new program formats: A consultation with the management team for Unjong Park, the Special Economic Zone located in the suburbs of Pyongyang, helped them pivot their strategy to focus on incubation and startups. We also arranged internships for DPR Koreans at an incubator in Singapore, and completed the first three-month “Mini-MBA” training for selected participants from Pyongyang.
More than 450 DPR Koreans attended our workshops in 2015, bringing the total through our six year history to more than 1,300 participants. Two participants we placed at Nanyang Technological University successfully graduated with a Masters in Business Administration. We also saw the introduction of new land use laws in the DPRK, an issue our programs in Vietnam and Singapore addressed last year.
In 2016, we look forward to supporting the development of a business incubator in the DPRK, and improvements in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are also experimenting with ways to ensure more Korean participants are able to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into business reality. To learn more about our impact last year and our plans for this year, take a look at our latest Annual Report!