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Entrepreneurship Training: The food truck dishes bibimbap out in L.A.2018-02-22Hit:2224

Kerbside Food Truck is serving up Bibimbap, a traditional Korean meal of rice mixed with vegetables and other ingredients, in Los Angeles. This truck has been operated for 8 weeks by a group of 10 to 12 university students from Korea. Before starting the project, they trained for four days in Korea. Sang-gyun Kang (37), a representative of Kerbside, has been running Backpackers Group’s Global Business Camp since September 2016.

Kang had a variety of experiences before managing this social venture. In 2011, he left his job at LG Telecom and started Bibimbap Backpackers, which consists of five members including himself to promote Korean food across 20 countries. Five founding members invested 15 million won at their own expense and left for their activities. In 2006, as a “Dokdo Rider”, Kang travelled across the world on his motorcycle to raise awareness about the disputed island. He said, "I wanted to create an opportunity to inform others about our culture abroad."

'Bibimbap Backpackers' ran until the first half of 2016. Since 2012, CJ Foodville has sponsored annual funding of 200 million won. "As the years go by, I have been thinking about ways to lead continuous consumption of Korean food, not temporary promotions," he said. Unlike the first year when they traveled on four continents, including the US, Europe, and South America, they narrowed the scope of their activities. In 2013, Backpackers operated businesses in the US and Europe. They visited companies and universities across the US in 2014 and 2015, and visited LA in 2016. Kang has strong belief that Bibimbap is a menu that can change the American food culture. Backpackers was even given an appreciation plaque by the U.S. Department of Health and Wellness in July 2015.

In order to create a more systematic way of promoting new healthy food and offering young Korean students the chance for oversea experiences, he completed the Social Entrepreneurship MBA program at KAIST College of Business. Kang founded Backpackers in September 2016 after completing his degree. The participation fee for the Global Business Camp is 900,000 won in four weeks, plus the airfare.

"In my early twenties, I wanted to know what I was good at and what I wanted to do. This camp was created for the young people who have similar concerns. I hope this can be an opportunity for them to become polished entrepreneurs by facing and solving problems while achieving their goals.”

Kang says, "My ultimate dream is to establish a Korean mobile market."  He expects that Korean food can reach more and more dining tables around the world by expanding the food truck business serving various Korean meals. He says, "If the number of food trucks increases, the cost of entry may be lowered, and it can become an alternative to a working holiday program.

Contact : Lee, Sohyun ( sohyun.c.lee@kaist.ac.kr )