Young entrepreneur works to make housing more affordable

February 9, 2016
Shin Ji-yae

Shin Ji-yae

By Kim Se-jeong

Shin Ji-yea, 27, is a resident of Mapo in Seoul, and she leads an organization called “Today Maker.”

“Our motto is to live happily today, here, and together with others, instead of sacrificing today for the future,” Shin explained.

Through her organization, she is spearheading a renovation project of an apartment building that is almost 40 years old in the neighborhood of Mangwon-dong, to provide affordable business space to young entrepreneurs.

They have so far renovated four flats and rented them to a bookstore owner and  an independent artist, who pay monthly rent of a mere 100,000 won (about $84) with a 3 million won ($2,500) deposit.

“I have seen so many young people with great business ideas discouraged because they couldn’t afford rent for their work spaces. I wanted to help them solve that problem,” Shin said during a recent interview with The Korea Times.

The apartment with 104 flats was built in 1971. Old and small, most of the tenants have moved out and never came back. Only 30 flats are currently occupied, and most residents are old.

The apartment building has faced threats of demolition, but it was never carried out, because it was difficult to find the owners of each unit, and because it wasn’t deemed economically viable.

Still, Shin’s organization has yet to turn profit. So far, she is operating with subsidies from the city government or companies.

“This is a little bit of headache, but I am sure something will work out,” Shin said.

To solve this financial problem, she is thinking of expanding the renovation project. Shin said the apartment residents welcomed her project.

“Old residents say they are happy to see young people moving into such an old place, and we often hang out together now. They sometimes even bring us food to share. We have developed a sense of community.”

Shin is a member of the Green Party Korea and is the party’s candidate to be a proportional representative. The Green Party has no seat in the parliament now, but hopes to get one proportional seat in the upcoming general election.

“I think it’s time for politics to change. To better help young entrepreneurs, we need to change the system, which we can do only through politics.”


  1. ultius pro

    August 9, 2017 at 12:34 AM

    This is amazing what you are doing. I think that we should have more such people in our country, people, who cares about young and can provide them with housing, even in such old places, where only elderly left to live.

  2. Obat Kutil Kelamin Alami

    November 7, 2017 at 12:34 AM

    hired him to bookstore owners and independent artists, who paid a monthly rent of 100,000 won (about $ 84) with a security deposit of 3 million won ($ 2,500).
    Success continues to make Shin Ji-yae

    Obat Kutil

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    November 14, 2017 at 4:31 AM

    who cares about young and can provide them with housing, even in such old places, where only elderly left to live.

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    November 14, 2017 at 4:32 AM

    Thanks for sharing with us