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Virtual Event – Insights from North Korean Refugee Entrepreneurs

Event: Thursday, February 4, 2021, Washington, DC

Seventy-five years after the onset of Asia’s Cold War, the world remains focused on the geopolitics of inter-Korean relations. Meanwhile, an emerging community of more than 33,000 refugees from North Korea currently live in South Korea; half aspire to become entrepreneurs. Despite the potential insight the refugee community could offer, there is insufficient data and limited understanding of their circumstances and specific needs. To fill this gap, The Asia Foundation produced North Korean Refugee Entrepreneurs in South Korea: Unveiling Korea’s Hidden Potential, conducting a series of interviews and a landmark survey of 131 refugee entrepreneurs.

The Asia Foundation and the Korea Economic Institute hosted an in-depth discussion of this report which offers a window into the lives of refugee entrepreneurs, exploring their aspirations, experiences, challenges, and opportunities amid discrimination, limited financial access, and barriers in culture and language. Experts discussed insights from North Korean refugee entrepreneurs and offered a set of strategic recommendations to bolster social inclusion and support refugee entrepreneurs in Korea.

Randall Jones, Non-Resident Fellow, Korea Economic Institute and Professional Fellow, Columbia University Center on Japanese Economy and Business
Kwang Kim, Country Representative, The Asia Foundation Korea
Scott Snyder, Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S. – Korea Policy, Council on Foreign Relations

Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, President and CEO, Korea Economic Institute, and Trustee of The Asia Foundation

Related locations: Korea, Washington DC
Related programs: Inclusive Economic Growth
Related topics: North Korea, Social Inclusion

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