International Women’s Day: Korean Moms who are also successful startup founders

Being an entrepreneur, a startup founder, is a difficult task, add to it responsibilities of nurturing a young child – that sounds like a lot! But these enterprising Korean moms are determined to be the ‘all-rounder women’ and inspire generations of women by finding the perfect work-life balance. Interestingly, their business endeavors were inspired by their journey of motherhood. On International Women’s Day, KoreaTechDesk tells you stories of these determined moms and startup founders. We also check out which spaces support the Korean moms to start their businesses.

Lee Darang, CEO, GrowingMom

Lee Da-Rang is an experienced youth and child counselor. When she became a mother, she realized the problems parents might face when it comes to their child’s psychological growth. She founded a startup GrowingMom, a cost-effective online parent and child counseling service in 2017.

Lee Darang, CEO, GrowingMom
Lee Darang, CEO, GrowingMom

Lee wanted to help fellow millennial parents with an efficient yet pocket-friendly counseling service compared to offline centers. She has more than 30 trained professionals for the online service that offers various services from child temperament analysis, counselling for child abuse, trauma, helping mothers rejoin careers, helping families connect, etc. Lee is alumni of the Google Campus for Mom, a special program for moms who want to become entrepreneurs. 

Seojung Chang, CEO, Jaranda 

Seojung is also alumni of Google Campus for Mom. She founded her startup Jaranda, a service that combines education and childcare. The company has received an investment (amount undisclosed) from ROA Invention Lab fund and VentureSquare joint fund.

Seojung Chang, CEO, Jaranda 
Seojung Chang, CEO, Jaranda 

The service targets children between children age 3-13 years old and their parents. The ‘Jaranda’ teachers also make home visits, if the parents want. Seojung believes Jaranda is like a ‘concierge’ service for education and childcare and has a data-based approach to recommending teachers and activities.

Miran Kim, CEO, Comma & Exclamation Mark

Miran was a stay-at-home, who desired to get back to the workforce. “After I gave birth to my son, it was tough to restart my career, despite my experience and credentials,” Kim said. She eventually thought to launch her own business in Daegu in 2015.

Miran Kim, CEO, Comma & Exclamation Mark
Miran Kim, CEO, Comma & Exclamation Mark

Miran’s startup, Comma and Exclamation Mark (C&E HRD Consulting), which has won some prestigious awards, guides skilled unemployed mothers back to the workplace, tackling gender barriers and aging labor force challenges. Kim received her MBA from Kyungpook National University, has a PhD in engineering from Keimyung Univerity and is the author of books on the future of entrepreneurship, startups and digital knowledge. She developed her business model in recognition of socioeconomic losses due to involuntary female unemployment stemming from child-rearing obligations.

Erin Lim, founder, Konny By Erin,

Erin Lim started a unique ‘baby wrap’ startup that works fully online. When she had her first baby in 2017, she wanted to buy a product which could help her hold her baby tight comfortably and also doesn’t give her any pain. When she didn’t find a perfect ‘baby wrap’ she decided to make her own design,  motivated by her husband Kim Dong-hyun, who is also a startup founder and has established social commerce platform TMON.

Erin Lim, founder, Konny By Erin,
Erin Lim, founder, Konny By Erin,

The 4-year-old company Konny By Erin’s revenue reached 14.7 billion won ($11.9 million) in 2019. Lim attributes the company’s success to social media marketing and to a smooth global delivery system. Lim has a 15-member team working for the startup of which 14 of whom are moms and the entire work happens online. Konny By Erin has no offline store or office.

What more for International Women’s Day 

The Korean government is committed to support women entrepreneurs and hence in Dongjak District in Seoul recently inaugurated a place dedicated to women entrepreneurs. Space Sallim, launched by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, is a pilot project center that supports businesses for women entrepreneurs and offers childcare facilities, so that they can maintain work-life balance.

Also, Google’s Seoul Campus has been running a program for mothers called ‘Campus for Mom’ where aspiring women entrepreneurs are given training in business skills. The program finished its fifth year in running in 2019, but the 2020 program didn’t happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with hope of recovery in 2021, Google might have another chapter of ‘Campus for Mom’ for the enterprising Korean moms. 

Also read more about women entrepreneurs on KoreaTechDesk, 

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