Startup companies are becoming a trend among college graduates. The success of Facebook, MySpace and Instagram has provided many graduates in other countries with the self-motivation necessary to dream big and risk everything.
Hanyang University engineering student Sim Cheol Hwan, 27 is very familiar with the trend. He says he wants to take a break from college to set up a company rather than stand in line for job interviews like his collegiate counterparts. He is currently on the right path of chasing his dreams as he has set himself up his own business making apps for the Samsung and Apple Inc. phones.
"I don't want to get a job at a top 10 Korean company," he said. "Zuckerberg's success proves that there is a lot of money to be made in startups."
There has been an 83 percent surge in the number of technology startups in the four years to 2011 in South Korea. Mobile downloads are expected to rise 10-fold to $58 billion between 2010 and 2014, helping lure graduates away from the traditional out of college expected working lifestyles.
"There are risks of failure, but there's also a merit that you can personally grow your own business," said Lee Kap Soo, a researcher at Samsung Economic Research Institute. "It's hard to have a big success like Facebook, but people start their business with the hope of hitting a jackpot like that."
In South Korea, software startups rose 61 percent between 2007 and 2011. Information and communications-service providers more than tripled, according to Korea Venture Business Association, an agency that supports new enterprises.
According to forecasts by Garner Inc., asocial media will reach $16.9 billion by the end of this year, a 43 percent increase from 2011.
"Everyone used to think if you go to a good college, that means you'll get a job at a big conglomerate," said Kim Dae Ho, professor of service management at Mokwon University in Daejeon, South Korea. "Now, people are thinking they can also start their own company and run it, rather than working for someone else. The whole environment has changed."
Possibly the most successful South Korean entrepreneur of all is Ahn Cheol Soo, founder of Ahnlab Inc. His company makes anti-virus software, and he has been dubbed by the local press as Korea's Bill Gates.
The Korean government helps startups by giving them tax incentives and making it easier to get loans. It also may decrease the unemployment rates among youths.
"Precious talent should not go to waste," President Lee Myung Bak said July 9.