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Young entrepreneurs share stories of success Updated: 2016-05-23 14:51:01 KST

Here in this small building in Seoul, two grad-school students are busy at work.
A little over two years ago, the duo launched a startup based on an idea and need.

"Seatbelts are designed for adults, so when used by children, the strap tends to scratch their necks. But by using our product, the angle is adjusted…alleviating physical discomfort and providing children with a positive experience with the doll."

The product took first prize in their university's start-up competition and was granted the world renowned design award.

However, the accolades haven't necessarily translated to economic success as of yet.

"We thought as long as it was functional the product would sell. But this was very naive on our part. Consumers must be convinced that they need the product, and it's very hard to do that."

But the two continue to have faith in their products.

"You must be confident and believe in your product. If doubt creeps in, it can really take a toll. You need to continue to test you're product or service until you are certain it will work."

Many young business people are also making their start in the local food industry.
This food truck which operates in a popular university area in Seoul welcomes hordes of customers.

"The patty is very juicy and the vegetables are really fresh. This burger is really delicious."

"Good, it's good. Actually the size is bigger than the normal ones we eat in Hong Kong.

The young CEO started this food truck six years ago to create handmade burgers that can easily be eaten without using utensils. He opened a second branch last year near Hongdae, a popular neighborhood among young people,and so far, registered sales of about 506-thousand U.S. dollars.

But like any other business, challenges remain as the industry is often at the mercy of external factors such as weather, for example, sales may drop by half during the winter and rainy season.

Despite this, the CEO expects the business to grow based on taste and the fact that his burgers are made to order.

"Your product or service should not be swayed by trends. It has to be something unique and that you are good at. That is the key to sustaining success."

Kim Seung-hyun is a young entrepreneur who proves that a top education isn't always necessary for success. After dropping out of high school, he worked as an apprentice under his father and learned about the printing industry. He eventually realized the potential of Korea's packaging market and started his own business in 2012. Now at 28, he is the CEO of one of the most successful packaging firms in the country, with projected sales of about 1.7 million dollars this year.

"It wasn't easy learning about the packaging industry. There isn't much information about it on the internet. I had to actually visit factories and printing firms to learn firsthand, and people in the industry were not very willing to teach me at first."

Kim says the most important factors in package design are eye-catching appearance and practicality. Keeping these fundamentals in mind, the company was able to create packaging for a variety of products including some of world's most renowned luxury goods.

With his company now an established firm in the industry, Kim is helping other startups promote their products through marketing assistance and offering discounts on packaging. He wants to share his experience and help others prosper.

"The most important thing when launching a startup is to experience everything firsthand. You always have to be on your toes and be willing to take the bumps at different stages. Only then, can you truly understand your business."

The entrepreneurs say that being a young CEO, is not a disadvantage, as long as you are brave and knowledgeable about your business.
Lee Ji-won Arirang News.
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