March 8 is International Women’s Day around the world, so what better time to check out some of K-Pop’s few female-run entertainment agencies? Here are 11 companies spearheaded by women CEOs and female founders.
1. Yuehua Entertainment
Yuehua Entertainment was founded in 2009 by Du Hua, also known as Kiki Du. The female entrepreneur, who graduated with an MBA from Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, China, is still the company’s CEO today.
While Yuehua Entertainment is a Chinese company, it does manage several K-Pop groups, including Cosmic Girls and EVERGLOW.
2. MZ Entertainment
MZ Entertainment was founded in October 2020 by soloist and 2NE1 member Minzy. The star started her own agency after departing YG Entertainment and getting into a legal dispute with her subsequent company, Music Works, after they failed to support her activities and didn’t pay her a single won.
Alongside Minzy herself, Minzy’s older sister and contemporary Christian music singer Gong Min Young is also signed to MZ Entertainment.
3. BlockBerry Creative
Founded in 2016, BlockBerry Creative is headed by female CEO Kim Sun Hye. For several years, she ran the company with a remarkably small number of staff members. As of January 2019, the agency had just 15 employees.
BlockBerry Creative currently has just one group on its roster: LOONA.
4. Grida Entertainment
Grida Entertainment was founded in February 2021 by soloist and f(x) member Luna. Luna was originally signed to SM Entertainment. She departed the agency in 2019 before signing with Humap Contents, but later decided to open her own company.
As of now, Luna has not yet signed any other artists to her agency.
5. DSP Media
DSP Media was founded in 1991 by male entrepreneur Lee Ho Yeon, but these days, it’s headed by a woman. Female CEO Choi Mi Kyung took over DSP Media in 2010 after Lee Ho Yeon, her husband, had to step down due to illness. At the time, Choi Mi Kyung was reportedly a homemaker with no knowledge of the entertainment industry, but she was able to lead the company to its current height.
April and co-ed group KARD are two of the best-known groups under DSP Media today. The agency is also preparing to debut a new boy group, MIRAE.
6. Rrr Entertainment
Rrr Entertainment was founded in February 2020 by soloist and former Wonder Girls member Yubin. Before that point, Yubin was signed to JYP Entertainment for 13 years. The agency’s name stands for “real recognizes real“, which Yubin says shows her endeavor to show the real images of herself and other artists she signs.
Since establishing the agency, Yubin has signed fellow former Wonder Girls member Hyerim to her agency as well as Hyerim’s husband, Shin Min Chul.
7. OUI Entertainment
OUI Entertainment was founded in 2015 by female entrepreneur Wi Myung Hee. Before establishing her own agency, Wi Myung Hee worked as a manager and producer at Shinchon Music, Pan Entertainment, and GnG Production. Plus, she was also a director for the Korean Entertainment Producers Association.
As of now, OUI Entertainment’s only group is WEi, but the company also manages actors and actresses like Beautiful Love, Wonderful Life‘s Seol In Ah.
8. Bridʒ Entertainment
Bridʒ Entertainment was founded in 2017 by soloist and SISTAR member Hyolyn. Shortly after SISTAR disbanded, Hyolyn departed Starship Entertainment to launch her own agency. Pronounced “Bridge”, Bridʒ Entertainment’s name symbolizes a bridge between the public and music production according to Hyolyn.
While Hyolyn is currently the only artist under the agency, Bridʒ Entertainment recently held a recruitment drive for A&R, marketing, social media, film, and business professionals, leading fans to speculate she may be signing more artists in the future.
9. MyDoll Entertainment
MyDoll Entertainment was founded in 2018 by former idol Lee So Hee. In 2006, she debuted under the stage name Yumi in Kirots. She later joined UNIZ in 2015 under the stage name Chie. A few years after UNIZ disbanded, she decided to create her own agency.
MyDoll Entertainment’s first girl group was Pink Fantasy, but the agency is also training a new girl group under the pre-debut name MyDoll Girls.
10. Beat Interactive
Beat Interactive was founded in 2017 by female entrepreneur Kim Hye Im. Back in 2018, the agency was praised for taking the initiative to make their artists study feminism and other areas of humanities.
Currently, A.C.E is the only K-Pop group signed to Beat Interactive.
11. S&P Entertainment
Last but not least, S&P Entertainment was founded in 2016 by actress and former I.O.I member Sohye. Sohye was originally signed to Redline Entertainment, but shortly after I.O.I debuted, she established her own agency. The company’s name is short for “Shark & Penguin”; S&P Entertainment also manages Penguin’s Café, a coffee shop where Sohye can connect with fans.
Sohye is currently the only artist signed to S&P Entertainment.