Colorado’s Henry Collbran and the Roots of Early Korean Entrepreneurialism explores the business efforts of British-born Henry Collbran who brought modern technology and innovation to the Korean peninsula. Stepping back in time Southerton’s latest work tells the fascinating story of Henry Collbran who left Colorado in 1896 and traveled to Korea with hopes of a lucrative gold mining opportunity. Seeing little potential in mining, Collbran successfully constructed the nation’s first railway from Incheon to Seoul. Collbran then secured the franchise from the Korean monarch Kojong to build a modern electric streetcar system. Over the next several years, the entrepreneur added additional business ventures, including the first telephone system, a modern waterworks, a bank, a coin mint, and even a movie theater. During his later years in Korea and with financial support of Colorado beer baron Adolph Coors and other investors, Collbran turned his effort to highly lucrative gold and copper mining operations before eventually retiring to a life of leisure in London. Author Don Southerton points out, “Westerners like Collbran provided Korea with capital, technology, and know-how. These efforts contributed to the early development and economic growth of the region, which in turn provided the foundation for Korea’s impressive late twentieth century industrial accomplishments.”
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Don Southerton has held a life-long interest in Korea and the rich culture of the country. His previous books center on culture, entrepreneurialism, and early U.S.-Korean business ventures. Southerton also extensively writes and comments on modern Korean business culture and its impact on global organizations. His firm, Bridging Culture Worldwide, provides consulting, training, and strategy on Korea-facing global business.
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