North Korean Refugee Entrepreneurs in South Korea: Unveiling Korea’s Hidden Potential
More than 33,000 refugees from North Korea today live in South Korea, and half of them aspire to become entrepreneurs. To date, there has been limited data and understanding regarding Korean refugee entrepreneurs and their circumstances. North Korean Refugee Entrepreneurs in South Korea: Unveiling Korea’s Hidden Potential, by The Asia Foundation in partnership with Woorion, is a report surveying 131 refugee entrepreneurs from the North, complemented by 10 in-person interviews, to explore their aspirations, experiences, and the challenges and opportunities they face.
While cases of discrimination are real, surveyed entrepreneurs report that it is not as prevalent as widely assumed. Coping with a market-based economy and competitive society is a key challenge, notably financial access and management, marketing and sales, and barriers in culture and language.
The report also analyzes public and private initiatives that specifically target Korean refugee entrepreneurs and offers a set of strategic recommendations to bolster social inclusion and support refugee entrepreneurs in Korea.