The Global Unicorn Program in Seoul concluded its four-day program featuring a stellar line-up of industry leaders, scholars and entrepreneurs. The program, part of the Global Unicorn Program Series at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), provides an ecosystem for next-generation unicorn and soon-to-be-unicorn company founders to explore business opportunities, develop valuable partnerships around the world and stay ahead of the curve in the hottest sectors. The program in Seoul focused on areas where South Korean unicorns have a unique edge, such as med-tech, culture and e-sports. The exclusive group of 31 participants learned how South Korea’s most exciting startups are leveraging the country’s unique start-up ecosystem to develop into global players.
The program kicked off with a company visit to Genesis, the luxury vehicle brand by Hyundai Motors, where students received a behind-the-scene tour of one of the world’s most successful automobile brands, its strategy and technology. This was followed by a welcome ceremony with presentations and speeches by prominent guests, such as Xiang Bing, Founding Dean and Professor of China Business and Globalization at CKGSB; Dong-Sung Cho, Visiting Professor of Strategy at CKGSB and Chairman of The Institute for Industrial Policy Studies (IPS) Korea; Gunsoo Yoon, President of the Koran Venture Capital Association; Jongyoon Kim, CEO of Yanolja; Bonhi Gu, Director of ‘Invest Seoul’; and Jongkap Kim, President and CEO of the Global Digital Innovation Network. The highlight of the day, however, was a presentation of South Korea’s leading science and technology parks, KAIST, and its start-ups founded by their faculties.
The second day of the program featured lectures from Dean Xiang Bing and Anindya Ghose, Heinz Riehl Chair Professor of Business at NYU Stern. Dean Xiang talked about the need for the next generation of unicorns to embrace global responsibility, social purpose and long-term perspective. Meanwhile, Professor Ghose discussed the 4 pillars of data-driven decision making. The day ended with participants taking part in the ‘Try Everything’ Conference, South Korea’s largest global start-up festival where promising start-ups, investors and accelerators from various countries came together. After the opening ceremony with the Mayor of Seoul Metropolitan City, students networked with over 100 venture capitals.
The third day began with a lecture from Karl Ulrich, CIBC Endowed Professor and Professor of Operations, Information & Decisions Research at Wharton. Professor Ulrich discussed how to identify, select, and develop business opportunities. This was followed by an exclusive company tour of Gen. G Esports, a leading e-sports organization connecting Asia with the United States. The president of Gen. G Global Academy, Guan Wang, gave a lecture on the emerging global e-sports ecosystem, its opportunities and challenges ahead.
Afterwards, students headed to the headquarters of Yanolja, a unicorn and leisure platform that provides online accommodation and cloud-based travel services, where Jongyoon Kim, Yanolja’s CEO discussed Yahola’s path to unicorn status and beyond. Students particularly enjoyed the opportunity to learn from successful entrepreneurs and network with like-minded business leaders in a cross-cultural environment.
The final day ended with Jeewoong Kim, Chief Strategy Officer of TOSS Bank, a fintech unicorn, on the future of banking in the region. Then YoungJae Jang, Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at KAIST, discussed digital transformation in South Korea’s smart factory sector. The program ended with participants networking and pitching for investment at Samsung’s C-Lab with some of the country’s top venture capitalists and investors.
CKGSB is running the Global Unicorn Program in Milan, Italy, on November 13-16, 2023, in partnership with SDA Bocconi School of Management, with a focus on Italy’s flagship industries, including fashion, food, furniture, and luxury goods, as well as emerging technology sectors such as FinTech and AI.
Applications are also open for Frontiers in Social Innovation, a collaboration with the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD), where participants will receive the latest tools, insights and skills necessary to lead a new generation of unicorn companies. The program aims to help business leaders, innovators and investors explore meaningful change and long-term sustainability of business and society. For more information on the CKGSB program in Stanford, click here.
CKGSB aims to build a global ecosystem for the next generation of unicorn and soon-to-be-unicorn companies, with a renewed and enhanced emphasis on global responsibility, social purpose and long-term perspective. We believe unicorn companies are important in generating economic disruption, which is central to economic development and social advancement, playing a critical role in promoting upward social mobility, particularly among young people. In fact, CKGSB is the first business school in China, since 2015, and now globally to offer programs specifically designed for unicorn and soon-to-be-unicorn founders.