Entrepreneurial spirit and innovation aren't exactly synonymous with North Korea. But, former Bain & Company consultant Geoffrey See has bet on the reclusive country's business potential for nearly a decade. And he says changes are finally starting to take hold.
"I think the last five years have become a much more stable environment," See said. "There's a bit of a mind set change in terms of how (North Koreans) approach their business, and the kind of risks they're willing to take with those businesses."
See has been teaching North Koreans the basics of business and economics, through his non-profit group Choson Exchange. Launched in 2010, the Singapore-based organization has trained more than 1,600 North Koreans to date, with the help of outside volunteers who regularly host workshops in the country, from Pyongyang to Rason.
See and his group conduct courses focused on three key themes: women in business, provincial development and entrepreneurship among younger business leaders. Participants are chosen through an application process, in partnership with North Korean universities.
While See said the program is largely free of any government control, he and volunteers are careful not to incorporate the concept of capitalism in any of their lectures.