What is MakE+Us?
The name MakE+Us was made by combining “Make” with “Us.” This means that “ME” and “U” make MakE+Us together. The purpose of this company is to support the dreams and passion of people in their 20’s, and to motivate university students to follow their dreams. They also seek to provide practical support for young people who try to make those dreams come true. The company was established by Sang-Beom Woo and six other young people in August 2012. MakE+Us operates by charging fees to affiliates. If young people consume products from their affiliates such as the cafe “Vero” and the restaurant “Magia.” MakE+Us receives a 10% affiliation fee. MakE+Us executes various projects, and they support social and cultural content with these fees. This is how they make it possible for young people to help other young people.
Activities of MakE+Us
MakE+Us is involved in a wide range of activities. One of their areas of concern is social projects. These social projects cover many content areas and the most important is the Social Talk Concert. The Social Talk Concert uses a format similar to the TED talk lecture series. Three speakers speak for 15 minutes each about different themes and after they finish their speeches, there are singing performances. Up to this point, many high profile guests have appeared like the announcer Young-Mi Yoon, cafe Khaldi CEO Dong-Hyuk Yang, two singers; Urban Zakapa and singer Noel. There is also the Dream Project. The dream project is designed to give assistance and opportunities to young people. They are also involved in Social Match, Social Univ and the Dokdo Flashmob. Social Match is an employment lecture that has the slogan “Youth, Be Crazy for Passion.” In addition, Social Univ is a project that gives financial support to the students of five majors at universities in Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do through Facebook. If a student of one of these majors clicks “like” on MakE+Us’s Facebook page, they give support funds to that major. The Dokdo Flashmob was one of the Dream Project’s most recognized events. The Dokdo Flashmob took place on October 25th 2012, which is Dokdo Day. This Flashmob lasted for 4-5 minutes at the Kyungpook National University north gate parking garage and the Kyungpook National University square. It was sponsored by Korea Morning Begins, Dokdo Alime and the TOZ dance center as well as MakE+Us. In addition, Campus Role Model matches university students with other young people, so they can talk about their experiences and their concerns about university life and aspirations. You can apply for Campus Role Model on the MakE+Us homepage. They talk about studying abroad, youth healing, Prezi & Storytelling, English speaking, taking leaves of absence, and campus life with a mentor. Regarding the subject of taking a leave of absence, enrolled students provide clues about how to make a leave of absence most beneficial. For example, they share how to prepare for a leave of absence, and how to spend the leave of absence fruitfully based on their own experiences. MakE+Us also supports other programs like redeeming Social Points. Social Points is a free utilization program that gives you access to performances, speeches, contests, special events and purchasing goods. Social Points can be accumulated at MakE+Us’s affiliates or if you solve quizzes on the MakE+Us’s homepage. Points can be accumulated free of charge. Finally, MakE+Us supporters help make MakE+Us work. There are less than 20 of them, and the activity period is seven months. Second participants chosen this year will be active from February 2013 till July 2013. University students from Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do who are familiar with activities like SNS (Social Network Service), blogs and Internet cafes are eligible. They give special treatment to students who are good at photography and video shooting. All applicants are evaluated through a document screening process, and they finally pass through an interview. One of the most important things for them is to activate publicity activities through online and live events. Moreover, they can participate in MakE+Us social talk concerts, MakE+Us project plan activities, and they can also participate as party staff. They are paid activity fees every month.
a representative of MakE+Us
Q) How did you recruit the original team members?
A) One friend had the same major as me, another was in the army with me, and the other worked with me while talking about my plan at a club drinking party. In addition, after receiving initial funding, a person who is proficient in handling work started working with us. They were three really close friends who worked with me and just this month, three more people came on, so now there are a total of nine people at MakE+Us.
Q) When did you decide to establish this social company, and what was your motivation?
A) In fact, when I was in the army, I envisioned this social company because I had a lot of interest in social ventures. I had lived in Seoul, and came down to Daegu. When I was a child, I felt the differences between Seoul and Daegu. I have liked challenges since I was young, and I wished college students like me had the initiative to create a social enterprise. Therefore, we are trying to motivate many students to do things that interest them and provide many opportunities.
Q) How can you operate a company which is not highly profitable?
A) After being discharged from the army, I went back to school and got a loan. Then, I leased office space with the money I earned from working part-time jobs. In April, the social enterprise business was carried out at the National Institute of Korean labor and our project was selected as the best project so we received initial funding of about 27,000,000 won.
Q) Why did you plan concert opportunities as part of the Social Talk Concert?
A) I am interested in what students are interested in and how I can forward their message directly. I thought of the artists’ performances at the end. In general, booking pretty famous singers is so expensive for many college students. Therefore, I thought to plan the Social Talk Concert to help college students enjoy performances at a reasonable price.
Q) I often went to the Talk Concerts and was very surprised at the public casting. What is the secret of your tremendous contacts?
A) I used the people search on Cyworld as the first liaison. In fact, now I have connections with record companies, but in those days I did not know how to connect with the companies. Costs are so expensive for college students. There was only one method to sell out all the tickets, so once we made a successful connection, we went out and sold all the tickets. Back then this was our key to success. In the end, our efforts bore fruit.
Q) What would you do if you were offered a better job with another company?
A) I would never leave this even if they offered me a 100 million won. If I confused with that suggestion, I think I am just a businessman.
Q) What do you want to say to young people who are in the same position you were in?
A) I would like to say that if you want to try something, don’t worry about the downside and just challenge yourselves. You can’t worry about failure. However, I think even a “failure” is not a failure, but another challenge to overcome.
These days, there are several social enterprises such as “Toms” and “the Beautiful Store.” However, there are not many social enterprises that specifically support young people’s dreams. In addition, most people do not care about the dreams and concerns of others. For these reasons, MakE+Us is a brilliant idea. The greatest attraction for people in their 20’s is that there are so many things we can challenge ourselves with. I hope many people take on several strong challenges and build up a lot of experience through activities with the enterprise MakE+Us.
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