CS alumnus Jy Park is featured in an article in Talouselämä magazine (in Finnish) this month, where he talks about moving from studying design in Finland to entrepreneurship in Uganda. Here’s a translation of the piece:
New way for Sustainable Development from Entrepreneur
”I’m from South Korea and I came to Finland to study design. I’m interested in creative sustainability, which cannot be studied in too many places.
I studied five years in Aalto University, from where I got encouragement to follow my passion and valuable advices for entrepreneurship. However, it is hard to get the funding for a design company in Finland. Everybody is just talking about information technology.
From my teacher’s advice I went to Uganda to do my thesis, which was a starting point to Jerrybag, a bag company that me and my friend founded in Kampala employing three persons and local sewers at the moment.
The first bags were made of jerrycans (plastic) and fabric. We get our income from the design bags, which we mainly export. At the same time we produce cheap bags to carry jerrycans for the local markets so that the women wouldn’t need to burden their neck while carrying the water on their head.
I want to work in Uganda, because there is a need for our company. The economy and middle class is growing in many countries in Africa, but the market situation is far away from the demand.
I’m going to stay in Uganda at least couple of years more and grow the business in East-Africa while possible looking for new ideas for problem-solving products for these markets.
Companies should invest in Africa, where there are possibilities to do successful business that might also have a local social influence. Building a sustainable business develops the areas that need help for considerably more long-term than donating money.”
By Juho Paavola
Translated by Sini Henttonen