In addition to our education programs, Choson Exchange seeks to inform the public about frontier entrepreneurship in DPR Korea, and develop new strategies to build the first generation of startups in the country. Last year, Choson Exchange was quoted in 54 stories across major media outlets, including 4 times in the New York Times. Our social media reach has grown to more than 2,000 followers on Twitter, 3,500 “likes” on Facebook, and 246 followers on Instagram. We also regularly publish a newsletter with updates on our programs to more than 1,560 subscribers. In addition to emails, posts and tweets, Choson Exchange staff have given more than a dozen talks about their work in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Washington DC and Boston, including major conferences on entrepreneurship such as Summit at Sea. Harvard Business School published the case study “Going Rogue: Choson Exchange in North Korea”, which we launched together with Professor Sophus Reinert as part of a class for second-year Harvard MBA students. This year, we will create a strategy and curriculum on building the entrepreneurial ecosystem that will guide our overall efforts in DPR Korea.
Looking to the future
We believe a startup incubator in DPR Korea can act as a focal point for access to mentorship, business networking, and knowledge. We believe such an incubator has the potential to catalyze the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country. We took first steps toward this idea in 2015, training four Koreans for four months at an incubator in Singapore. Last year, these Koreans joined our volunteers to mentor and coach seven startup teams in developing their ideas. The workshop was well-received, and while building the ecosystem is a slow process, we hope to develop a vibrant and fully-functioning incubator over the course of the coming years, and advance the cause of frontier entrepreneurship. While we expect 2017 and 2018 to be challenging years, we aim to continue organizing workshops to provide audiences in Korea with the business exposure lacking in the country.