Creating a world where anyone can shape their own destiny Gojo & Company, Inc. Founder & CEO Taejun Shin

Gojo & Company, Inc., aims to be the “People’s World Bank.” Growing rapidly since its establishment in July 2014, as of the end of September 2019, the company has 470,000 customers and more than 2,700 group employees, and has also announced Series C financing from investors including DIMENSION of 4.22 billion yen. We asked Founder & CEO Taejun Shin about the qualities and vision an entrepreneur needs.

Seeking to advance the history of humanity, even if only by a step or two

ーーWhat would you cite as being the three most important qualities for an entrepreneur?

It’s only been five years since I launched the company, so I only want you take what I say as provisional, but what I would identify as the three qualities you need are: 1) will and vision, 2) determination to never give up, and 3) surround yourself with colleagues who are more outstanding than you.


Taejun Shin
Born in 1981. Graduated from the School of Law of Korea University, and Waseda Graduate School of Finance, after which he worked in investment operations at Morgan Stanley Capital and Unison Capital. While working in finance, he founded Living in Peace, a certified NPO, in 2007, engaging in NPO activities at weekends and on weekday evenings. After establishing Japan’s first-ever micro-finance investment fund in 2009, in 2014 he founded Gojo & Company, which provides financial services to people on low incomes in developing countries. 


ーーCould you explain a little more about the first of these, will and vision?

I serve as the Japan board member of Endeavor, the world’s largest entrepreneur support community, and so have the opportunity to participate in selection meetings in various countries. It was at one of these meetings when a prominent U.S. venture capitalist once said when evaluating a tech startup entrepreneur, “This person’s not a real entrepreneur.”

When I asked why they felt this way, the response was, “He may be strong on the technology side of things and have a feel for the future, but I’m not seeing any willingness to take a look at reality and either compromise or fight against it to move things forward.”

I feel exactly the same way, and believe that it is the job of an entrepreneur to change society through their work, even if only a little, and in so doing advance the history of humanity, even if only by a step or two. The conditions for being an entrepreneur are first to demonstrate will and vision, and then steadily come to terms with reality in order to realize your will and vision, and also being able to bring together people who are better than yourself to achieve your vision.


“Love” and “experience of success” gave form to vision

ーーCould you describe your vision in a little more detail?

My vision is to “create a world where everybody has the opportunity to shape their own destiny and make a better life for themselves.”

Put another way, this is “equality of opportunity.” I want to create a world in which all people can believe that whatever the initial conditions they are born into, they have the freedom to become whatever they want.


ーーWhat inspired you to form this vision?

Looking back now, I had a wonderful childhood, but when I was young I often found myself wondering, “Why am I the only one?”

From an early age I questioned my own circumstances, with questions like, “Why is our family the only one without a SUPER Famicon game console?” “Why am I the only one who older pupils punch?” and “Why don’t I have a passport?”

Until around my early 20s I found myself resenting the cards that life had dealt me, until suddenly one day a realization hit me. “I didn’t do anything wrong by being born, so what I need to change is not myself, but the world around me.”

I think that various minorities who may feel stigmatized about their backgrounds and positions often try and live their lives in places in the shadows. I think that’s extremely sad. I want to create a world where anyone can do exactly what they want to do, regardless of the circumstances of their birth.


ーーWhat prompted you to come to this realization? 

I think it was probably because I was able to cultivate a “sense of self.”

This “sense of self” is comprised of broadly two elements, and the first is having “the love of others.” This doesn’t necessarily have to be the love of your family or other blood relatives. If there is even a single person who you are sure would cry at your funeral, then that is enough. This is something I am convinced of after more than 10 years’ experience of seeing children who are living apart from their birth parents.

The second element is “experience of success.” If you have some kind of good experience, and one that would be useful to others, then this affirms your reason for living.

Fortunately for me, my mother was an extremely loving person, who I was confident would never betray me.

One of my experiences of success was during my school years, when I played football. I would be always put on as the substitute, but even so, I practiced hard, improved my skills and eventually everyone stopped making fun of me. This was one of my experiences of self-realization that really convinced me that I could do something if I tried, and that if I changed, those around me would change as well.

I firmly believe that even if the initial conditions that a person is born into are not the best, as long as they have someone who cares about them and they can gain experiences of doing something well, they will gain a sense of self that recognizes “it’s okay for me to be in this world.”



With the mission of ``creating a society where straightforward aspirations are rewarded by focusing on people, business, and organizations,'' we are a domestic venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs who are serious about management from the time they are established, and supports them in expanding their businesses and going public.

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