- Sookmyung’s Campus Town Project soars high, creating a win-win environment with the local community
Yongsan, Seoul, is a hub of transportation that connects the whole country with a railroad network centered on Seoul Station and Yongsan Station, as well as being the center of industry-academia cooperation where the largest electronic shopping malls and companies in Korea are gathered. On the other hand, it is also labeled for falling behind and having large gaps of living standards because it is an old city center with topography separated by railroad tracks and US military bases.
As the only four-year university in Yongsan-gu, Sookmyung Women's University actively pursued win-win cooperation with the region by utilizing our human and intellectual infrastructure accumulated up to now. In particular, through the Campus Town Project started in cooperation with the city of Seoul since 2017, the school took the lead in revitalizing local commercial districts and youth entrepreneurship in Yongsan and specializing local culture. As a result, Sookmyung Women’s University has been highly evaluated for having developed a commercial district in the Yongmun Market near the school, supported projects such as the entrepreneurial challenge of enrolled students and the creation of an independent road centered on Hyochang Park, and completed a desirable industry-academia-government cooperation model. Another achievement is the active partnership with Yongsan-gu based on trust.
Sookmyung Women's University, which has successfully completed the unit-type projects that have been in progress for about three years, was selected as a comprehensive campus town project university at the end of last year, providing another turning point. The newly selected comprehensive status will provide much greater support than the former unit project status, which will allow us to receive up to 10 billion won starting 2023. Through this, the school is to promote comprehensive promotion of housing, culture, business, and regional cooperation.
Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, it has become difficult to smoothly operate the originally planned projects, but despite difficult conditions, Sookmyung Women's University Campus Town Project Group has implemented various projects this year.
First, the creation of a startup space and selection of tenant companies can be cited. Sookmyung Women's University is fostering promising start-ups by utilizing the CROSS Campus base center established in the Yongsan Electronics Market. Currently, there are a total of 7 residing companies, and the tenant companies are provided not only space, but also mentoring, industry-academia cooperation, technology matching, and back office services. The companies have a variety of items, from food development to character development, branding design, stents, pet curation services, and military airplane-type drone integrated solutions.
Occupancy Space at Cross Campus Base Center
CROSS Campus Startup Center
Test Store 가치가게 같이가게
There are also success stories among tenant companies. “Third Eye Robotics,” a company that develops and manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles, was selected as a promising smart city startup in Seoul in recognition of its excellent items, and participated in the world's largest home appliance exhibition, “CES 2020,” with a booth in Seoul. “Three J,” which develops a non-face-to-face sexually transmitted disease test kit, is a representative company that has grown through the support of the Sookmyung Women's University’s Campus Town Project Group. Three J is conducting various government projects through consulting from professors in the information and communication field of Sookmyung Women's University. It was also recently selected for the technology matching project of the Seoul Institute of Technology.
A total of 19 start-up teams moved into the recently opened complex facility for the residents of Yongsan-gu by opening a start-up support center for young people jointly operated with Yongsan-gu. 18 teams were established in the CROSS Campus Startup Center, located on the B1 floor of the Sookmyung Business Incubation Center. In the Yongmun Market, we are running 같이가게 가치가게, a store that serves as a kind of test store.
The Campus Town Project Group is planning to foster up to 58 tenant companies by 2022. An official from the project group said, “With the support of the university, some of the facilities in front of the school are being remodeled into spaces dedicated to young entrepreneurs,” and “next year after the remodeling is completed, we will be able to select more tenant companies to provide benefits.”
Secondly, the implementation of intensive startup programs is underway. In May, Sookmyung Women's University publicly recruited Startup Evangelist, a startup club of the Campus Town Project Group. Evangelist is a term used by leading technology companies such as Microsoft to refer to experts who spread their technology to the market. Sookmyung Women's University provided professional mentoring, regular meetups, and item enhancement programs by our professors. As of the end of November, 75 people from 27 teams are active.
1st Snow Food Lab
It has also operated the First Snow Food Lab, which provides training and customized professional coaching by discovering young people who dream of starting up food and catering industries (food product and service development, food tech and healthcare, and catering business start-up planning, etc.). Since July, a total of 42 people from 7 teams have completed the 16-week training course, and through the presentation of the final results, the database building team for developing traditional Ehwaju (alcohol) products and brands, developing vegetable protein powder supplements, and developing vegan product notification mobile apps won the award.
Snow pitching is a program that helps prospective entrepreneurs and companies connect with investors to raise money for commercialization. A total of 10 teams were selected through the evaluation, customized mentoring was provided, and 10 million won was directly provided to the 4 excellent teams through final pitching. In addition, various start-up programs continued throughout the year such as the Value-Up Together Student Idea Challenge Contest, Sookmyung Makers Start-up Academy, and Hey! You Too?, a one-person creator start-up training.
Thirdly, there are the regional win-win programs. The Campus Town Project Group has operated a number of projects that can breathe with the local community centering on the Yongmun Market, which has established a strong cooperative relationship through unit projects, including ▲ the Simsimpuri Film Festival (심심풀이 영화제) hosted with a youth film group as part of the Seoul Campus Town Festival, ▲ the SoulLive in Traditional Market, a concert held by students and graduates in a traditional market based on the advice of a professor at Sookmyung Women's University's College of Music, ▲ the Yongsan Cultural Road Video Contest to re-examine the rich historical culture in Yongsan-gu and activate modern culture and establish itself as the center of culture, ▲ YongSook (Yongsan-Sookmyung) Traditional Market Professional Merchant Academy, which provided education to the staff of the 7 merchants' associations at the traditional markets in Yongsan-gu on ways to make Korean traditional market world-class, leadership change initiative and music healing, and to revitalize the markets in response to changes in the new distribution environment. Supporters B:Breath, organized with the aim of revitalizing the traditional markets, contributed greatly to the vitalization of the Yongmun Market by actively utilizing Sookmyung's brilliant ideas such as hosting local resident participation-type festivals, SNS-based challenge items, and TV commercial shooting.
SoulLive in Traditional Market
Children's Halloween Drawing
Cheol-yeon Kim, Dean of Campus Town Project Group, said, “I want to make sure that the programs that are currently in progress have self-sufficiency even after the project is over. The goal is to build a Sookmyung Women's University's own ‘regional independent entrepreneurship promotion program.’ We plan to build a 'framework of virtual cycle' in which a town with productivity is created through youth entrepreneurship and the productivity returns to the region. We will do our best to operate the Campus Town Project so that it can remain an asset of the region and society.”