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SNU College of Engineering Opens Startup Summer Camp

  • September 6, 2016
  • Hit 11300
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Students at the Haedong Idea Factory
Students at the Haedong Idea Factory

“It’s okay if you screw up,” goes the slogan of SNU College of Engineering’s Startup Summer Camp, held for the first time this year. Taking place at the SNU Haedong Idea Factory, the three-month camp provides an opportunity for students to turn innovative venture ideas into actual businesses. Students wishing to participate were required to submit a one-page application explaining the purpose and expected budget of their venture products, and a total of 12 teams were selected to realize their ideas under guidance from camp organizers.

The Startup Camp, which began on July 18, offers financial support and practical advice to participants as they manufacture their own startup products and eventually earn funding through the final investor presentation to be held on September 30. Each team was initially given 500,000 KRW (approximately 448 USD) of seed money, with possibilities to receive additional funding upon meeting certain intermediate goals. Throughout the three months of camp, students receive practical advice from SNU engineering professors and from alumni who have achieved entrepreneurial success. Professors offer theoretical and technical guidance, while entrepreneur alumni help out with product registration and manufacturing procedures.

Students at the Haedong Idea Factory
Students at the Haedong Idea Factory

Although the Haedong Idea Factory, the main venue for the camp, was constructed in March 2016 primarily in order to enable SNU engineering students to build creative products using various technical apparatuses, the Startup Camp has broadened the scope of the factory by allowing students from other universities to participate. Any student team that includes at least one SNU Engineering student was eligible to apply. This year, members of the final 12 teams included students from various schools such as Dongguk University and Hanyang University.

“The significance of this startup camp comes from the fact that students are cooperating together to design and launch their own products rather than using engineering education for just exams, graduation and employment,” Professor KIM Seong-Woo said. In contrast with the traditional, theory-based engineering education at SNU, the startup camp pursues practicality and entrepreneurship that will guide students in real-life context.

According to YANG Jaehyuk, one of the entrepreneur advisors of the camp, venture products created by participants have been quite innovative. “At first I was a bit worried that the students’ ideas would not be realistic enough, but looking at the outcomes, I feel that some of their products are actually worth paying for.” Examples of products designed by participants include augmented reality glasses that project images and subtitles directly before the eyes of deaf people, and the “going Dutch” smartphone app Ring My Bill, which conveniently calculates how much money each member of a group needs to pay after multiple rounds of meals and drinks.

Camp organizers expressed hope that the Startup Camp will encourage more engineering students to devise unique products and eventually challenge themselves to build and develop their own businesses.

This article referenced the following:

Written by YOON Jiwon, SNU English Editor,
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations,

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