Course information

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Overview of the Application Project Course


It is not by accident that Korea has the highest Internet penetration in Asia. You will learn this unique Internet culture and their approach to entrepreneurship. From Young Entrepreneurs' Society of Korea YES to Mompreneurs for women, we will cover the ecosystem and support structure. How do you compete in an economy that is second to Japanese, European and American products, mired by corruptions and bankruptcies of family-run chaebol, and government inertia? Yet, Korea continues to be resilient, churning out large successful companies like Samsung, Hyundai, LG, Daewoo, etc. We will investigate the environment by visiting start-ups in Internet, Online gaming, and other industry in Seoul and DaeJeon. Visit the soul of Asia, Seoul and experience the unique culture by emerging ourselves in startups, ventures and government support structures. You will have the opportunity to speak to entrepreneurs and ask questions about their process, challenges, risks and rewards of starting up a new business. Is it Korean guanxi? Is it luck? Is it a culture or personality of the founders? Seek the X factor that is the ultimate ingredient for a successful business.

Students are strongly encouraged to explore Technopreneurship related internship opportunities with the companies that they visit.


Students are encouraged to take innovation and Technopreneurship related course.


This course will help

  • Introduce students to the vibrant entrepreneurship scene in South Korea.
  • Develop an understanding of the factors leading to the proliferation of start-ups.
  • Aspiring student entrepreneurs apply their findings to their own new venture journey.
  • Students understand how and why entrepreneurs in South Korea were able to start up technology-based companies.
  • Motivate and facilitate SMU students to start their own technology-based companies in other parts of Asia.
  • Students explore Technopreneurship related internship opportunities with the companies that they visit.


Student teams will be assigned to different organizations.

Output and Assessment Summary

Students will be assessed on both in class and during the trip activities and conduct. The grade break down and project descriptions are listed below.

Grade breakdown

The grade breakdown is listed below.

No Time Frame Topics Assessment Type Weighting
1 Pre-Trip Research on Country/City Individual 5%
2 Starting a company Individual 5%
3 Research on Organization Team 10%
4 Research on Technopreneurship trait/characteristic Individual 5%
4 Trip Discussions Team 20%
5 Post-Trip Presentation (organization) Individual 5%
6 All Reflection – wiki, video, photos, etc. Individual 25%
7 Participation – quality, help to others, role in trip, etc. Individual 25%


Here are the assignments:

  1. In class presentations and wiki report
    1. Teams (primary) are to research on selected or assigned organization. Organization: background, motivation, challenges, investments/employee stock ownership plan/intellectual property, strategy/business model/IPO, culture/personalities/politics/connections, etc.
    2. Students (individual) are to research on the country/city and consider a particular trait/characteristic in building a successful company.
      1. Country/City: background, industry, population/skill/language/culture, compare to Singapore, politics, aspiration, etc.
      2. The trait could be connections (guanxi, family, companies, country, customer focus), support environment (government, business, infrastructure, society, market maturity, reputation), personality/company culture (integrity, leadership, competitive, pragmatic, savvy, creative, innovative, dynamic, risk taking, commitment to technology, excellent communication, team spirit, fun seeking, etc.). Research on this by reading a book and summarize. Come up with examples of company events when this trait is vital to the company. Explore this trait in some of the organization we will visit.
      3. What do you think is most important when starting your company? In starting a company, refer to how to start a company in Singapore. Registering a company, applying for grants, speakers from founders, government policies, etc.
  2. During the trip
    1. Teams (primary & secondary) When the opportunity presents itself, ask questions about your organization and trait/characteristic. We will organize a team for each of the following: introduction, discussion and follow up.
    2. (Individual) Keep a journal (via wiki, video, photo, etc.) on the discussion and visits. Focus on learning points and reflections. Compile your journal in the individual reflection.
  3. Post trip Presentation
    1. Reflection on your research: country/city, organization, trait/characteristic and starting a company
    2. Key takeaways or learning points from the organization
    3. Quotes from presenter/senior management/owner/founder
    4. Recommendation on how the trip can be improved further
  4. Individual Reflection
    1. A diary recording/minutes of what happened during the trip. Reflect on each key event. This can be a journal/dairy/report/twits, photo montage with descriptions/flickr/wiki/blogs/facebook, video/youtube, etc.
    2. Two key takeaways or learning points of the trip
    3. What do you think is most important when starting your company?

Learning outcomes, achievement methods and assessment

To be updated.

Academic Integrity

All acts of academic dishonesty (including, but not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, facilitation of acts of academic dishonesty by others, unauthorized possession of exam questions, or tampering with the academic work of other students) are serious offences. All work (whether oral or written) submitted for purposes of assessment must be the student’s own work. Penalties for violation of the policy range from zero marks for the component assessment to expulsion, depending on the nature of the offense. When in doubt, students should consult the instructors of the course. Details on the SMU Code of Academic Integrity may be accessed at

Classroom Planning

There will be several classroom meetings to organize the course, trip and research. Students will meet in classroom to present their research findings. The teams are required to update their progress using the wiki.

Course Schedule Summary

Classroom: SIS SR 2.1 Wed 12:00-15:15

Class (Week) Topics Comments
1 (Jan 9) Course introduction and team formation Start individual and team wiki.
2 (Jan 16) Understanding the research objective and technopreneurship traits Update trait/characteristic wiki
5 (Feb 6) Research on Country/City presentation and Starting a company (new) Update Country/City & Starting a company wiki
6 (Feb 13) Entrepreneur trait/characteristic wiki progress Update trait/characteristic wiki
Week 8: Break
11 (Mar 20) Trip briefing and trip planning Student presentations
12 (Mar 27) Company research Student presentations
17-18 (Apr 28-May 8) Trip to South Korea & final presentation Reflection complete