EDITING : 2024.4.22 월 18:51
The Gachon Herald
We are Students and Entrepreneurs; Stories of Cocone School EntrepreneursSecrets of successful student startups at Cocone School
Ju Min-Jeong  |  minjwh04@gachon.ac.kr
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Updated : 2024.04.21  13:22:48
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 If you are a student at Gachon University, you may have heard of ‘Gachon Cocone School,’ a student entrepreneurship curriculum. But do you know more about Cocone School? Cocone School, which opened in 2022, is relatively new, so there are inevitably only a few students who know the information. So, I met a successful student startup team at Cocone School. With members, ‘Kwak Seo-jun from the Department of Physics, Tae-wan Cho from the Department of Artificial Intelligence, and So-mang Kim from the Department of Entrepreneurship,’ they form a start-up team called ‘Docent’ and are student entrepreneurs who developed ‘looi’, an AI memo app, using the Cocone School curriculum and succeeded in launching the app. Students who have questions about Cocone School or are wandering about preparing to start a business, please refer to the interviews with Cocone School seniors below.
1. What motivated you to participate in Cocone School?
Kim So-mang: I originally majored in acting, but I first became interested in starting an app through my experience in YouTube and the online shopping mall business. I applied to Cocone School with the desire to gain relevant professional knowledge and network with people who have the same dream.
Taewan Jo: In the summer of 2022, after an accident, burnout, and a lethargic daily life, he took on the Instagram Clone Coding team task of making the Instagram site and application identical using Java socket communication in college class. It was a task with many difficulties, but by overcoming the difficulties of the task and succeeding in producing the service, I overcame burnout. Through this experience, growth became the driving force of my life, and I decided to take on the challenge of starting a startup while enjoying the process of defining and solving problems on my own.
2. What is the difference between starting a business through Cocone School and other student startups?
Somang Kim: I think the biggest difference is education and networking with current experts. Through Cocone School, I was fortunate enough to meet many successful practitioners, and through them, I was able to acquire voices and professional knowledge from the field.
Seojun Kwak: I was able to learn about entrepreneurship through special lectures from successful CEOs, and through the startup community, I was able to gain experience developing services that target deep and broad human nature. Above all, Cocone professors actively prepare and support students to minimize their chances of failure.
3. What led you to come together as a start-up team called ‘Docent’?
Somang Kim: Currently, the team consists of a total of four people including us. Among them, I was the last to join the startup team. The biggest reason I joined this startup team was the passion of the team members. I thought I could do anything with friends who had this kind of passion.
Seojun Kwak: Skills and roles are important, but I think it's important to be someone who empathizes with the vision and is a good fit. Taewan and I have similar values and are excellent friends, so I learn a lot while working together. Although Eunjeong is not a student at Gachon University, she initially joined as a side project, and then fell in love with the docent's vision and passion and joined as a designer through a hackathon. Somang is a senior from the first class. He was a talented and outstanding friend, so I really wanted to join him, so I succeeded in recruiting him and we became a team of four.
4. Please tell us about any difficulties you faced in the process of developing the ‘looi’ app using AI and any experiences you overcame.
Seojun Kwak: It was difficult to assemble a team and there was a lack of essential personnel, which slowed down work and faced difficulties. The process of finding side project team members was not easy, and I had doubts about my own abilities, but I was able to overcome the difficulties thanks to the support and answers of Professor Joon-young Park, Professor Lee Min-seop, and Dean Dae-ik Jang. I value taking one step forward and believe that more time and effort is needed.
Taewan Jo: There were technical difficulties in applying AI directly to services and there was a need to improve speed. While trying to keep up with the pace of technological advancement, a lot of pivoting and modification was needed in the process of applying technology for service. Although problems arose during the work process that required developers' understanding and adaptation, we regarded it as an effort to create a service that solved users' problems and directly responded to numerous errors and corrections.
5. What changes have you experienced since participating in Cocone School?
Somang Kim: I think it is possible to study theoretically about starting a business on your own, but starting a business on your own is almost impossible. I think the most valuable change is meeting colleagues here who share the same dream.
Seojun Kwak: I feel like my life has changed 180 degrees through starting a business. Now I am experiencing living more actively and taking responsibility for my own life. I have gained confidence because I feel like I am actively creating my own life now more than when I was in second grade. At Cocone School, the story of starting a business feels like reality rather than a dream, and the experience of working with classmates and professors leads to confidence in taking on real challenges.
6. What are some of the inconveniences you felt at Cocone School or what would you like to see improved?
So-mang Kim, Seo-jun Kwak: At Cocone School, there are students who have no experience in starting a business or have a variety of experiences, so I think they need different education for each level rather than the same class. Mentors in each field are needed to support students' capabilities and skills when they feel limitations in starting a business. I hope Cocone provides practical mentoring services.
Taewan Jo: At Cocone School, there are good classes where successful entrepreneurs give lectures on entrepreneurship, but there are no lectures on planning, development, design, etc. That's why I think mentoring on practical skills is necessary. Since I started my business as a student, I am experiencing technical difficulties compared to my passion.
7. What do you regret or feel disappointed about while participating in Cocone School?
Kim So-mang: When you start a business at Cocone School, it is very helpful to get a lot of advice from people around you as you work with many people, but sometimes it becomes a factor that makes you waver because you are lost. In fact, since I am also a student, the opinions, advice, and feedback of professional adults were helpful, but there were also many times when I faltered. Now, I am trying to become a strong person who can respond to any feedback and advice.
Taewan Jo: Sometimes I lose my essence or become impatient. The solution I recently realized to solve this problem is to read a book every morning and make a resolution to keep going. If you do it in a hurry, you will often make mistakes, but if you do it slowly, I think you will lose a lot. I think it is important to focus on the essence and solve problems quickly and accurately with a relaxed mindset.
 As a member of the "docent" team at Cocone School, I gained valuable business experience alongside colleagues who shared the same goals. Thanks to interviews with entrepreneurs and Gachon University seniors, I was able to take a closer look at Cocone School's curriculum and student entrepreneurship. In the interview, the limitations of Cocone School and the difficulties of starting a student business were clear, but the value of starting a business was greatly appreciated. If you are a student interested in starting a business, why not give it a try at Cocone School?
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