When my friend Julian told me about this trip to North Korea (DPRK), I was directly interested as I have a peculiar passion for special places, and the implications of the politics of such places for people’s lives. What a better place to indulge such a passion than the DPRK? It’s a secluded country about which a lot has been written and said… but very few people actually know what is going on there. This was a perfect occasion into which I rushed as quickly as I could!
Teaching startup skills and business knowledge to the frontier entrepreneurs of North Korea is often one of the most amazing things our volunteers have done. The recent Pyongsong Startup Bootcamp was particularly interesting: Instead of just telling us about their ideas, North Korean participants presented working prototypes and products they had already launched, looking for advice on how to improve their offerings.
While Pyongyang remains the most glitzy and booming city in North Korea, Pyongsong has emerged as one of the country’s most important trading hubs. It’s also home to a growing community of ambitious entrepreneurs. So when the latest group of CE volunteers arrived in the DPRK earlier this month, there was a sense of excitement — and a room full of North Koreans who were eager to show the progress they had made over the past year.