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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 apart from this, there are also some great K-dramas that will inspire you to be an entrepreneur or motivate you to launch your own business. In fact, we’ve handpicked six of the best business K-drama shows that will ignite that entrepreneurial fire in you. 

6 Best Business K-Drama Titles to Stream on Netflix Today

From a small coffee shop to a global fashion and beauty brand, these K-dramas about business have a lot of valuable business lessons to impart for future entrepreneurs and business owners. 

Start-Up

business k-drama - Start-Up
Photo: My Drama List

Plot Summary: Start-up

Starting off this list of the best K-drama series is “Start-Up.” Set in a fictional location called Sandbox (inspired by California’s Silicon Valley), it tells the story of four young people in the fast-paced and cutthroat world of―you guessed it―start-ups. 

Bae Suzy plays the role of Seo Dal-mi, an ambitious and smart woman who dreams of making it big in a start-up company, just like Steve Jobs. What she lacks in money and privilege, she makes up for with her passion, drive, and hard work. And she’s committed to changing the trajectory of her life, even if she doesn’t have a lot to offer.  

Nam Joo-hyuk is also a part of this popular business drama series. He plays Nam Do-san, a math genius who was once the pride of his family. But his company, Samsan Tech, hasn’t been doing so well for a while now. Bearing the burden of his family’s shame and his own failures, Do -san is just about ready to give it all up. Until he finds a reason to try again.    

Kim Seon-ho plays the sharp-tongued, no-nonsense Han Ji-pyeong. As the team leader of SH Venture Capital, he makes the tough calls. But he’s also a mentor, friend, and overall good man. And he owes his success to someone in the past who helped him in a big way.   

Last but not least is Kang Han-na, who plays Won In-jae/Seo In-jae, Seo Dal-mi’s older sister. In-jae has everything in life to guarantee success: wealth, education, beauty, and smarts. But she eventually learns that these are all a weakness and a disadvantage. She decides to do everything it takes to create her own success and be recognized for her own skills and achievements in a male-dominated industry.  

Business Lessons from Start-Up K-Drama

business k-drama - start-up cast
Photo: Kpopmap

This is a great K-drama about hard work, teamwork, leadership, and starting a business. Add it to your business K-drama list if you want to learn more about the life of a Korean entrepreneur, game-changing business lessons, and unselfish love.  

While watching this K-drama, you’ll be reminded that dreams will remain dreams, unless you pursue them with dogged determination. Realizing your dream won’t happen overnight, though. 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 to bring your business to where you want it to go. 

Sometimes, you’ll also need to be tough and maintain a distance especially if this is what will help your business, or if this is what will teach your employees a valuable lesson. 

Lastly, “Start-Up” shows us that you really need to have the grit and the guts to enter the world of business or entrepreneurship. You may have the degree, money, knowledge, and connections. But if you don’t have the passion and the strength of character, you’ll easily flounder and abandon the struggle.  

Related article: 6 Big Challenges Startups Must Prepare for in the First Three Years

Itaewon Class

business k-drama - itaewon class
Photo: AsianWiki

Plot Summary: Itaewon Class

While most people are motivated by passion or financial success when deciding to put 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. And together with his team of fellow social outcasts, Sae-ro-yi takes the helm in building a business that will topple Jangga Group.

Business Lessons from Itaewon Class

business k-drama - itaewon class cast
Photo: Pinkvilla

The Korean drama “Itaewon Class” is teeming with lessons about business, and so much more. First, it’s a moving underdog story. The main character has the odds stacked against him. But even with little resources, his ambition, determination, and thirst for revenge keep him going. 

You also can’t help but admire Sae-ro-yi as a person of principle. 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 love you and your business. 

And no matter your background, history, shortcomings, or flaws, you can find your own happiness and success when you truly work hard for it. 

Related reading: How These Filipino Entrepreneurs Turned Pandemic Challenges Into Success Stories

Business Proposal 

business k-drama - business proposal
Photo: AsianWiki

Plot Summary: Business Proposal

Our next business K-drama is also 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 so he no longer needs to go on dates, 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. 

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Business Lessons from Business Proposal

All work and no play makes you wealthy but single, causing concerned family members to meddle in your life and set you up on a blind date. So 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. Sure it can get a bit tricky to navigate, and there will always be risks. But it can work, and love can conquer all. 

See also: Business Loan in the Philippines: Complete Guide for New Entrepreneurs

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha

business k-drama - hometown cha-cha-cha
Photo: The Movie Database

Plot Summary: Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha

This widely popular healing drama is a remake of the 2004 South Korean film “Mr. Handy, Mr. Hong.”[1] Aside from the warm fuzzy feelings delivered by its cast, particularly Shin Min-a and Kim Seon-ho, “Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha” is also a great K-drama about business. 

In this series, ambitious and perfectionist 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. There she meets Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho), the lovable jack-of-all-trades who’s also well-regarded by the community. With Chief Hong’s help, Hye-jin turns her fledgling dental practice into a successful one and falls in love with Gongjin and its residents, including Chief Hong himself. 

Business Lessons from Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha

Not everything is all about money and profit. One reason Hye-jin left her successful practice in Seoul is the pressure to be rich and successful, even at the expense of other people. (Remember the kind neighbor who ended up being her patient?) By putting up her clinic in a place where the residents really needed dental services, she’s able to help the community and earn a decent living, too. 

Also, running your own business isn’t all that glamorous as it sounds. In the early days of her clinic operations, Hye-jin didn’t get patient bookings at all. And there was even some hesitation from the residents to go to her clinic because she’s not a local. What Hye-jin did (with some encouragement from Chief Hong) was to go out and truly get to know her neighbors and earn their trust. 

Crash Landing on You

business k-drama - crash landing on you
Photo: Soompi

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 a chaebol heiress, she also struggles with the pressure to take over the company business and the hostility and resistance 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 provide 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 putting herself in her customers’ shoes are what made Se-ri’s Choice a global brand. 

And even if Se-ri’s a chaebol heiress, she 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. And you can have this level of commitment only when you really love what you do and really believe in your product or service. 

Coffee Prince

business k-drama - coffee prince

Plot Summary: Coffee Prince

The Korean drama “Coffee Prince” is an oldie but goodie. Korean superstar Gong Yoo plays the role of Choi Han-kyul, the grandson of a coffee business owner. His grandma then gives him the responsibility of running their 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. 

On the other hand, Go Eun-chan, played by Yoon Eun-hye, is struggling to make ends meet, even with her multiple jobs. So when she bumps into Han-kyul and he asks her to pretend to be his gay lover (so grams will stop setting him up on blind dates), Eun-hye finds herself saying yes. She even 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 many 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.  

Also, being financially stressed and overwhelmed all the time isn’t good. As demonstrated by Eun-hye, it 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. And sometimes, all we need is that one little push to guide us to the right direction.

Read more: 18 Golden Rules for Starting a Small Business in the Philippines

Final Thoughts  

When you say K-drama, 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 K-drama series will inspire you to become a CEO, too.

So if you’re looking for your next series to binge-watch or if you just want to be inspired to start your own business, check out these business K-drama titles ASAP! While you’re at it, easily compare personal loans for business financing and apply for one through Moneymax.

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Source: [1] Mr. Handy, Mr. Hong (IMDB)