Credit: Hong Beom Ahn
The latest scientific and technological achievements of UNIST-based student startups have drawn worldwide attention.
Thyroscope Inc. (CEO JaeMin Park), a UNIST student-led venture company, has recently been selected as a grand prize winner of the 2020 CheongCheongCon* competition, held by the Korean Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS). This award has been bestowed to Thyroscope Inc. in recognition of its excellent technical skills and high business value in the smart healthcare sector. As part of this award, the company has won KRW 150 million in prize money.
In December 2020, UNIST has also announced that its student-led venture company, Pireco Inc. has been selected for TIPS, the accelerator investment-driven tech incubator program for startups, and will receive KRW 500 million in funding from the Korean Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS). They have been given this honor in recognition of their efforts and contributions towards the development of a robust biometric identification system for identifying individual pet animals based on iris and nose pattern recognition.
In recognition of their breakthrough technology and business feasibility, UNIST-based student startups have been successful in attracting investments and thus have been honored with numerous awards.
“UNIST Youth Startup Support System Becomes the Cradle of Young Entrepreneurs!”
Since the establishment of its first student-run business in 2012, UNIST has been supporting and accelerating business innovation and entrepreneurship. As of December 2020, the number of student startups based at UNIST is 61 and many of them have been developed into successful companies. These companies have contributed greatly to the local region and beyond, raising over 14 billion KRW of investment and producing over 310 full-time jobs, thereby generating more than 71.4 billion KRW in revenues. In particular, the number of student startups selected for the TIPS program has increased to three.
These results were largely influenced by the systematic university-level policies that support young entrepreneurs. UNIST currently provides entrepreneurship education, various startup programs, and startup business incubation systems to help, support, and strengthen student startups.
In 2017, UNIST has also launched a new co-working office space in the Student Dormitory to help foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. The 790-square-foot co-working space, called UNISPARK, will be available to all student entrepreneurs at UNIST, providing them an on-campus spot to launch and grow their startups.
“Startup Ecosystems Where Startups-University-Community Grow Together!”
UNIST also aims to create a virtuous cycle in which the growth of young entrepreneurs can grow with the students themselves, the community and the university. If a start-up company grown with the support of a university creates a new growth engine for the local economy, and creates an environment in which the profits generated from it can be reinvested again for young entrepreneurs, one can dream of joint growth between universities, regions, and start-up companies.
Class 101 is another UNIST-based student startup that has been thrust into the spotlight with its new non-face-to-face learning platform that offers more than 500 online classes, being taught by the best practitioners in their respective fields. The company, in partnership with UNIST Leadership Center, helped delivering four UNIST Leadership Courses via its online platform throughout the Spring 2020 semester. By donating the proceeds from the recent earnings to its alma mater, Class 101 demonstrated how beautiful the results of win-win cooperation are.
UNIST has recently received a generous donation of KRW 10 million from another UNIST-based student venture, InterX Co., Ltd. Started as a UNIST-based student venture, the company has grown into a manufacturing AI and big data analysis company. The company is providing an AI service platform that can help manufacturers monitor and optimize production quality and efficiency based on data analyses. The money will be used as a development fund for the establishment of AI Media Lab, which is being promoted by the College of Info-Bio Convergence Engineering at UNIST. The new laboratory will deliver AI-based convergence education and research with the aim of educating and training leaders for the future of AI.