Yesterday, I had the privilege of MC’ing a professional networking social event in Seattle. This event, organized by KAC (Korean American Coalition), highlighted entrepreneurship.
I gave the following perspective on the importance of entrepreneurship:
We live in a time of exponential changes. Advancement in technology continues to redefine our lives at a rapid pace. China is now the third largest economy in the world, having surpassed Germany last year. Experts predict that China will surpass the US as the largest economy in 18 years. China and India have more honor students than we have children in the US. What does that mean for the future?
To me, it means that innovation is what will continue to give America its edge. We excel in ideating new visions and new inventions. The book-smart Chinese and Indian look to America for innovations. That’s high-value advantage that we need to protect.
As for Korean-Americans, or Asian-Americans in general, we tend to gravitate toward professional livelihoods such as law, medicine and sciences. These are honorable professions, and honor is particularly important to the first generation Asians. However, the exponential changes in our world today demand that we also cultivate innovation and creative thinking. We need to develop more entrepreneurs, along with lawyers and doctors within our Korean-American communities.
A survey showed that 47 percent of all venture-backed companies in the US have a founder or a co-founder who was not born in the US. What a testament to America’s standing as truly a land of opportunity. Yet, Korean-Americans represent a poor percentage of these venture-backed founders, far behind the Chinese, Indians and even the Israelis, among others.
One part of the explanation, I believe, is because Korean American parents still push their children to be study and become lawyers and doctors. Also, the Korean culture is generally averse to risk-taking.
So, we need to change because change is all around us. We need to cultivate an environment that creates more venture-backed start ups with Korean American founders.
At the KAC Professional Networking Social, four local startups got to introduce their companies:
Guppy Media: A cutting edge mobile and online advertising network, currently with distribution presence in over thirty countries.
Rice N Roll: Serves fresh sushi rolls. Three locations throughout greater Seattle, and three locations at Safeco Field. Franchises offered.
Eggsprout: Social networking for professionals with focus on job searches.
Presalepassword: Subscription-based information web site for the secondary ticketing industry.
I’m looking forward to more such events.