When he decided to run his own business a few years ago, Bryan Hale, a former English teacher at a local middle school, had no idea about the business culture here.
What helped him a lot, he said, was the business start-up program offered by the Seoul Global Center, a support center for foreign residents.
“The center offered me the education I need to understand the Korean business culture; not to mention the tremendous connections needed to become and stay successful in Korea and abroad,” said Bryan, who last year established The 7Angels, an apparel company.
He said the Korean business culture was very different from that of America.
“Acknowledging a person’s work title is very important in Korea. Also, sarcasm is acceptable in Western culture where as it is considered impolite in Korean business settings,” he said.
He is one of the 140 foreign residents who have completed the 10-day business start-up program, launched last year. Of them, 27 have succeeded in starting their own business, the center said.
Thanks to the positive response to the English-only program, the center also plans to offer a bimonthly program targeting people from non-English-speaking countries.
In the first lecture planned for June 18, Christie Lee, a business consultant at Hana Tax Management Corporation, will explain the business start-up process and the nation’s taxation system for foreign companies.
The lecture will be delivered in Korean, while volunteer interpreters will help participants in three languages: English, Mongolian and Russian.
Even after the program, the center will continue to offer consultations through online and offline services.
The center also plans to launch an Internet-based program free of charge later this month for those who cannot visit the center.
More detailed information is available at www.global.seoul.go.kr
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com