To say that Korean dramas can make you feel a lot of things is an understatement. Kilig, happiness, rage, and sadness―it’s not a K-drama if you don’t feel these emotions.
But there are also some K-dramas that will inspire you to be an entrepreneur or motivate you to launch your own business. We’ve handpicked 10 of the best business K-drama shows that will ignite that entrepreneurial fire in you.
10 Best Business K-Drama Titles to Stream Today
Whether they feature characters running a small coffee shop or a global fashion and beauty empire, these K-dramas about business have a lot of valuable business lessons to impart to future entrepreneurs and business owners.
Plot Summary: Start-up
Starting off this list of the best business K-drama series is "Start-Up." Set in a fictional location called inspired by California’s Silicon Valley, it tells the story of the fast-paced and cutthroat world of―you guessed it―start-ups.
Bae Suzy plays the role of Seo Dal-mi, an ambitious woman who dreams of making it big in a start-up. Also part of this popular business drama series is Nam Joo-hyuk as Nam Do-san, a math genius running a struggling start-up. Kim Seon-ho plays the sharp-tongued Han Ji-pyeong, the team leader of SH Venture Capital. Lastly, Kang Han-na, plays Won In-jae/Seo In-jae, Seo Dal-mi’s older sister who has everything in life to guarantee success.
If you happen to be a fan of Philippine adaptations of Korean dramas, you can also check out the local Start-Up adaptation.
Business Lessons from Start-Up K-Drama
Add this to your business K-drama list if you want to learn more about hard work, teamwork, leadership, and starting a business. Dreams will remain dreams unless you pursue them with dogged determination. It won't happen overnight—it will take years of studying and learning.
And you can't do it all on your own. You'll need people to help you achieve your goals and bring your business to where you want it to go. However, you'll also need to instill independence in your employees.
You also need the grit and the guts to enter the world of entrepreneurship. You may have the degree, money, and connections. But if you don’t have the passion and strength of character, you’ll easily flounder and abandon the struggle.
Related article: How to Deal with the Toughest Challenges Facing a Startup Business
📺 Itaewon Class
Plot Summary: Itaewon Class
While most people are motivated by passion or financial success when putting up a business, it’s a little bit different for Park Sae-ro-yi in "Itaewon Class." In this popular Korean drama about business, Sae-ro-yi, played by Park Seo-joon, decides to open his own bar restaurant in Itaewon for revenge.
After serving time in prison following a series of misfortunes due to an exploitative CEO, he decides to put up a restaurant that he can eventually turn into a franchise. Together with his team of fellow social outcasts, Sae-ro-yi takes the helm in building a business to topple Jangga Group.
Business Lessons from Itaewon Class
The Korean drama "Itaewon Class" is a moving underdog story. The main character has the odds stacked against him. But even with few resources, his ambition and determination keep him going. In a world where people can be easily swayed, bullied, or corrupted, he’s steadfast in his beliefs, even if it makes things more challenging.
"Itaewon Class" also shows how valuable it is to have the right people on your team. When you invest in your people, they will remain loyal to you and your business.
Lastly, no matter your background, history, shortcomings, or flaws, you can find your own happiness and success when you truly work hard for it.
📺 Business Proposal
Plot Summary: Business Proposal
"Business Proposal is one of the best and most popular business Korean dramas. Based on the webtoon of the same title, "Business Proposal" is a wholesome rom-com that stars Ahn Hyo-seop and Kim Se-jeong.
The two lead characters agree to go on a blind date; Tae-moo at his grandfather's behest to find a suitable woman to marry, and Ha-ri at her friend's request to fill in for her and scare off her date. What follows is a hilarious series of events with plenty of swoon-worthy moments.
Business Lessons from Business Proposal
All work and no play makes you wealthy but lonely, causing concerned family members to meddle and set you up on a blind date. Don’t work so hard that you forget about the things that truly matter!
Also, they say that you can’t mix business and love. There will always be risks, so tread lightly and make sure it's worth it!
📺 Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha
Plot Summary: Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha
This widely popular healing drama is a remake of the 2004 South Korean film "Mr. Handy, Mr. Hong." Aside from the warm fuzzy feelings, "Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha" this K-drama about business also delivers lessons on entrepreneurship.
In this series, ambitious dentist Yoon Hye-jin (played by Shin Min-a) ends up leaving Seoul to open her own dental practice in Gongjin, a quiet and conservative seaside village. She meets Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho), the lovable jack-of-all-trades. With Chief Hong's help, Hye-jin turns her fledgling dental practice into a successful one, falling in love with Gongjin and its residents—including Chief Hong himself—in the process
Business Lessons from Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha
Not everything is all about money and profit. By putting up a clinic in a place where residents really needed dental services, Hye-jin was able to help the community and earn a decent living, too.
Also, running your own business isn’t all as glamorous as it sounds. In the early days of her clinic operations, Hye-jin didn’t get patient bookings at all. Residents hesitated to go to her clinic because she wasn't a local. Hye-jin (with some encouragement from Chief Hong) needed to truly get to know her neighbors and earn their trust first.
Lastly, success can’t always be measured by fancy university titles and big-city jobs. For some, it’s living in a small town with everyone and everything you love.
📺 Crash Landing on You
Plot Summary: Crash Landing on You
A Korean drama about a family business? Yes, please! "Crash Landing on You" is another business K-drama about a beautiful and successful chaebol heiress and entrepreneur.
Son Ye-jin plays Yoon Se-ri, who forges her own path and starts her own fashion and beauty company called Se-ri’s Choice. As an heiress, she struggles with the pressure to take over the company business and hostility from her own family. But all that’s temporarily forgotten when she gets caught in a freak storm while paragliding and lands over the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
Business Lessons from Crash Landing on You
Because of her commitment to providing only the very best products to her customers, Se-ri made sure to test her brand's extreme sports apparel line herself, even if she’s not a paragliding pro. Her attention to detail and determination to put herself in her customers’ shoes made Se-ri’s Choice a global brand.
Se-ri knows her own business inside and out, top to bottom. She’s very hands-on and knows all the ingredients that go into her products. You can have this level of commitment only when you really love what you do and believe in your product or service.
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📺 Coffee Prince
Plot Summary: Coffee Prince
Korean superstar Gong Yoo plays the role of Choi Han-kyul, whose grandma gives him the responsibility of running a dilapidated coffee shop. Han-kyul takes over and rebrands it to Coffee Prince. To draw female customers, Han-kyul decides to hire only good-looking male staff.
Go Eun-chan, played by Yoon Eun-hye, struggles to make ends meet, even with multiple jobs. When she bumps into Han-kyul and he offers to pay her money to pretend to be his gay lover (so grams will stop setting him up on blind dates), Eun-hye says yes. She begs him to let her work at his coffee shop, where she pretends to be a guy for as long as she can.
Business Lessons from Coffee Prince
With its hilarious, touching, and kilig moments, "Coffee Prince" also opens our eyes to the reality that it’s hard to earn a living and provide for the family, especially if you don't have a lot of options. Some people will accept any kind of job available, even if it means pretending to be someone you're not. Dealing with financial struggles, as demonstrated by Eun-hye, can drive you to do outrageous things, like masquerading as a guy just to get a job.
Lastly, this business K-drama highlights the value of hard work and responsibility, even if you're well-off. Sometimes, all we need is that one little push to guide us in the right direction.
📺 Strongest Deliveryman
Plot Summary: Strongest Deliveryman
This 2017 business-related K-drama is another must-add to your list if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur.
Go Kyung-pyo plays an oddball named Choi Kang-soo, a restaurant food deliveryman. Kang-soo crosses paths with Lee Dan-ah (played by Chae Soo-bin), a feisty delivery woman who dreams of leaving Korea. Kang-soo also meets Oh Jin-kyu (played by Kim Seon-ho) and Lee Ji-yoon (played by Ko Won-hee), both from wealthy families—one trying to gain a foothold in life, the other breaking free just to experience real life.
With his newfound friends and fellow delivery workers, Kang-soo builds a successful business that will save the little neighborhood restaurants from an impending corporate takeover.
Business Lessons from Strongest Deliveryman
It’s the classic story of the everyman vs. the big and greedy conglomerate; the underdogs taking on a corporate giant. Despite the differences and the bad blood, the characters in this business Korean drama put aside their issues when they realize their livelihood would be in peril once the big player bought everyone out.
It’s okay to have a little competition. After all, it’s one of the things that drives businesses to improve. But never resort to doing something unethical—your business should be built on honesty and integrity.
This K-drama also showed that in business, being big and flashy doesn’t always mean sales. Some customers stick to the basics, the original, and the traditional. They go where they can feel love and sincerity.
📺 Best Chicken
Plot Summary: Best Chicken
If there’s chicken, we’re in! This Korean drama about business and romance also puts everyone’s favorite in the spotlight: fried chicken.
Park Sun-ho plays Park Choi-go, an employee-turned-chicken-restaurant-owner in a middle-income Seoul neighborhood. His landlord makes an unusual request: In exchange for lower rent, he should take in the landlord's granddaughter, Bo-ah (played by Kim So-hye), as part-time staff.
Choi-go's kindness is met by Bo-ah's hostility and secret plans to sabotage his chicken restaurant. Still, over time, hearts soften, and first impressions change. Together, Choi-go and Bo-ah dodge attacks from adversaries and help each other succeed and find love.
Related reading: Money-Saving Tips for Entrepreneurs
Business Lessons from Best Chicken
First business lesson from this K-drama: Fried chicken is a good business idea. But you have to at least know how to cook it, or concoct a special fried chicken recipe that will leave a mark on people’s tastebuds.
Second, while quitting your job and going into business without experience sounds exciting, it can also end badly and leave you broke. In the dog-eat-dog world of business, you must equip yourself with everything you need to make your business work. Sometimes, you also need someone with fresh eyes to see what you’re doing wrong and what you can do about it.
Lastly, adversaries will come sooner or later. They’ll set you up to fail, make you doubt your worth, or question your decisions. Keep going, anyway!
📺 I Am Not a Robot
Plot Summary: I Am Not a Robot
In "I Am Not a Robot," you’ll get to know reclusive Kim Min-kyu (played by Yoo Seung-ho), who’s severely allergic to people. One touch can cause an allergic reaction that can kill him. Yes, it’s that bad—but at least he's the chairman and majority shareholder of KM Financial.
One of the company's teams secretly created a humanoid robot called Aji 3, modeled after the team leader's ex-girlfriend Jo Ji-ah (played by Chae Soo-bin). Ji-ah is beautiful, ambitious, and strong-willed. But this go-getter attitude puts her in a bind when she pretends to be the Aji 3 robot after its battery malfunctions before a critical demonstration.
Business Lessons from I Am Not a Robot
The plot may seem farfetched, but the lessons are grounded in reality. The most obvious business lesson here is that desperate times call for desperate measures—and pretending to be a humanoid robot for money is a desperate measure indeed.
Looking for a K-drama about a businesswoman? Jo Ji-ah is also a passionate entrepreneur. Even if people didn’t believe in her creative ideas, it didn’t stop her from thinking of inventions to improve people’s lives.
In life and business, this is how you should be, too. Even if it’s hard, pursue your dreams persistently!
📺 Revolutionary Love
Plot Summary: Revolutionary Love
"Revolutionary Love" may not be your usual rom-com. But if you love the rich guy-poor girl trope mixed with company politics and business and labor issues, this business K-drama is for you.
Byun Hyuk (played by Choi Si-won) is a wealthy, good-hearted third-generation chaebol heir. Kang So-ra plays Baek Joon, an intelligent and hardworking part-time worker.
In a wild turn of events, Byun Hyuk finds himself living in a small studio apartment in the poor neighborhood that Baek Joon is also from. Living in the trenches with the ordinary working man opens Byun Hyuk’s eyes to a different reality: that Gangsu Group has oppressive business practices and that it’s time to put an end to them.
Business Lessons from Revolutionary Love
This business K-drama is heavy on the fight for the rights of irregular workers in Gangsu Group. It also shows how big companies exploit workers in many ways.
The show also focuses on toxic corporate cultures and company politics, and how we need ground-breaking, revolutionary ideas to end the cycle and introduce something better.
Also, some companies want the entire market share. But it doesn't have to be that way. Consumers have different needs and preferences, meaning companies can co-exist and stay profitable without taking out the competition.
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With K-dramas, you’re guaranteed an emotional rollercoaster, characters you wish were real, soul-stirring soundtracks, and indescribable kilig. But once in a while, you’ll stumble upon a K-drama that will not just make you feel good or fall in love. Some business K-dramas will inspire you to become an entrepreneur, too.
If you’re looking for your next series to binge-watch, check out these business K-drama titles ASAP! If you do end up deciding to run a business yourself, you can easily compare and apply for personal loans for business financing through Moneymax.
-  Here's a first look at the much-awaited 'Start-Up PH' (GMA News Online, 2022)
-  Mr. Handy, Mr. Hong (IMDB)
- Photos from The Movie Database, MyDramaList, AsianWiki, Pinkvilla, and Soompi