WONJU, South Korea, July 5 (Korea Bizwire) – As most highway rest areas in Korea offer a great variety of eateries, they are becoming the perfect place for young entrepreneurs to start their businesses, just like an ‘incubator’.
The Korea Expressway Corporation’s Gangwon Regional Headquarters announced on Tuesday, July 5, that it is holding a contest from July 1 to 15 for entrepreneurs wanting to start businesses at expressway rest areas, and is particularly targeting young people between the ages of 20 and 35.
This project will support young entrepreneurs who have great ideas but lack the financial resources to actually start their own business. If selected, a future business owner will receive benefits such as interior design costs exemptions, a reduced lease, expert consultation, and promotional assistance. They will also be able to run the business for up to two years.
If the business is profitable, a certificate of good entrepreneurship will be remitted, along with the opportunity to sign a lease to officially open a rest stop store.
A 36-year-old named Kim is part of the first generation of ‘rest-area’ young entrepreneurs, opening a store that designs and sells Matryoshka, Russian wooden dolls, at the Hoengseong rest stop (Gangneung direction) in July 2014.
“Monthly sales are roughly 5 to 6 million won, but some customers who visit the store ask to have the dolls delivered to local stationery stores. It brings about opportunities to expand our sales network. Having a store at a rest stop is an easy way to publicize your item and to see how the market responds.”
Other cases where young entrepreneurs successfully launched their businesses include ‘Coffee Bean Bread’ (monthly sales of 10 million won) at the Chiak rest stop (Chuncheon direction), and ‘Deep-fried Plus’ (monthly sales of 12 million won) at the Munmak rest stop (Gangneung direction).
In addition to eatery businesses, the contest also includes creative businesses such as crafts, arts, and fashion items.
“Launching a business at a rest area will serve as a test bed for young entrepreneurs who want to start their own business with a small initial investment, since customers of all ages and preferences stop by rest areas. Passionate young people who have creative ideas are always welcomed,” said an official from the Korea Expressway Corporation.
Under the KEC’s Gangwon Regional Headquarter’s jurisdiction, six stores at four different rest areas including Munmak (Gangneung, Incheon direction), Hoengseong (Gangneung direction), and Goesan (Yangpyeong direction) will be available for the young entrepreneurship project.
The final winners of the contest will be selected in July, and the businesses will be launched as soon as they are ready to go.
Organizers will also be accepting ideas year-round.
Interested entrepreneurs should visit the KEC website (www.ex.co.kr) to find an announcement for the “Rest-Area Young Entrepreneurship Idea Contest”, and download the application. Completed applications can be filed in person or by mail. (Contact number: 033-811-6046)
By Nonnie Kim (email@example.com)