How to do a workshop for Korean startups in Seoul? Since covering the Korean startup ecosystem for over 7 years, I have organized my share of events and workshops in Seoul. This includes events, seminars, and workshops that went online due to COVID-19 during 2021-2022. Workshops in Korea are 1-2 days, and for bigger startup conferences, it can last for up to 3 days. It is always a great feeling to bring startup entrepreneurs in Korea together. In this article, I will write about what you will need to set up a workshop in Seoul. Workshops offer a more hands-on approach rather than learning through online courses. They are a great way to network with people with the same issues you face.

What is your workshop about?

Workshop in Seoul

A good way to find the answer is to actually ask the Korean startup entrepreneurs through a survey. It will be crucial to figure out exactly what they need help with. You want to be specific, which will be the main goal of this one or two-day workshop. A good tip is to go on forums or Reddit to see the trending questions for entrepreneurs in Korea. Join startup communities in Korea and see what issues many are having. The goal is to ensure Korean startups leave with knowledge or skills they did not have before. Therefore, it is important to create a clear outline of the topics and instructions that will be offered at the workshop.  With this outline, creating an agenda will be much easier to do.

I tip I can give to partner with a Coworking space in Seoul or a Korean government startup program like Seoul Global Startup Center to organize a workshop. In the case of Seoul Global Startup Center, they are open to working with industry leaders on workshops and skill-up sessions that will benefit startups in their program. 

Lastly, you must be clear about whether or not your workshop will be done in Korean or English. It is our experience that workshops are done in Korean to attract a wider audience. Of course, your topic will be key in whether to go with English vs Korean. However, if you have to choose, go with Korean and have translation services in English.  

How many people do you want at the workshop?

It is very important to determine the size early. This will help you determine the venue. When starting, I suggest going small (20-30) as you gain more experience along the way. Going small also has many benefits. The workshop can offer better service and care. Therefore the next time you do the event, you will already have an outline and agenda so that the process will be much easier. Then you can increase the number of attendees. Many Korean events want to go big immediately, but in my experience, that is a mistake. Start small and slowly build your audience and community. Each workshop should increase in attendees, or else you are not doing it right.  

A large event has its pros and cons. The pros are that it is great for team exercises, and you have more people to network with. There are many more options when you can form teams and do team-oriented exercises. The cons are that you will not be able to give individuals the attention they need and will need more prep materials and a bigger venue. The main purpose of a workshop is to get more hands-on personal help from experts. This is something you can’t get online and something you can’t get if the attendees are too big. We recommend a typical workshop should not exceed 50 attendees.  

When do you want to have your workshop?

This is another important step. Most Koreans do not like going to events on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Events during the weekday are a great excuse for many workers to leave their office a little early. Remember, most Koreans need to stay at the office due to office politics. Going to these workshops or meetups is a great excuse for them to leave early. Try to set the time around 6 pm. However, remember that most people in Korea will arrive around 30 minutes late. The most popular dates for the workshops are Thursday. If it is a two-day event, it is possible to have it end on Friday.

For those that want to have attendees arrive on time, you will need to offer some kind of reward. For example, the first 10 attendees will get so and so. If Koreans know there is a chance for a prize by coming to the event a few minutes early, they will do it. 

Where will you hold your workshop?

Startup Workshop at Coex

There are many places to hold a workshop in Seoul. The best are co-working spaces, but if you have a larger budget, it is good to see what Coex offers. Make sure you hold the event located in the Gangnam district.  Google Campus Seoul offers free event spaces to its members. It is free to become a member, so this option is what I would recommend. In addition, the Startup Branch on the 4th floor of COEX offers free spaces for entrepreneurs in Korea. It is easy to become a member, and space is yours as long as it has not already been taken. 

Campus Seoul

Create an event page using ON-OFF MIX

ON OFF MIX is the Eventbrite of Korea. Most of the meetups and events are posted on the site. You will be able to do your ticket there. Or you create your event page and link it to the ON-OFF MIX.  The ON-OFF MIX is also a great way to advertise your event to the Korean public. The site is in Korean, however, if you use the Chrome browser, it will translate the site into English.

These are just a few tips when organizing a workshop in Seoul for Korean startup entrepreneurs. Remember to make the attendees feel special but offering fun and innovative activities that get them involved. Keep the data (email list) from the event, and you will be able to grow your community with each event.