Issue/WT Notices2012.06.07 13:36

[Apr. 05, 2012] WT Newsletter #4- Korean Social Enterprise News 2.

Seoul Metropolitan Government Strengthening the Discovery and Support of Social Enterprises

Apr. 05, 2012 / NEWSis

Seoul announces a comprehensive plan to support the social economy

Seoul has begun the Social Economy Supporting Project as part of its mission to aid the recovery of the local economy and local communities, based on cooperation and mutual benefit.

Seoul announced a comprehensive support plan on April 5th. The essential features are outlined below:

▲Discovering innovative social enterprises

▲Supporting social enterprises in their growth phase

▲Building up a systematic intermediate support system

▲Expanding the consumer market in the public sector

▲Building the infrastructure of the locally oriented cooperative ecosystem

It is intended to boost social enterprises, which give their profits back to society by providing jobs or welfare services to people in need. Seoul supports social enterprises in various ways to help them succeed.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government believes that the collapse of the middle class, the deepening of the gap between the rich and poor, and the rise of the youth unemployment rate are caused by economic growth that focuses on quantitative expansion and by an economic system that only emphasizes the success of conglomerates. It is further believed that expanding and boosting social enterprises will help solve these problems.

The plan includes establishing an "Incubating Center," either around the universities in the northern part of Seoul or around the area adjacent to Seoul Station, which will support the initial business start-up expenses of young social entrepreneurs. The plan also includes nurturing 50 social enterprises suggesting innovative solutions in 10 strategic sectors, including urban agriculture and technological innovation (R&D).

The government will also primarily buy products from certified social enterprises to help their stability. This year's purchasing budget is up to 50 billion won. If the enterprises do not meet the government's requirements, however, Seoul could exclude them from public procurement or even cancel their certification as a social enterprise.

A "Social Enterprises Development Center" will also be established to act as the network hub of the main agents in the social economic field. The management of the center, which will open in September in the Nokbun area this year, will be left to the private sector, which covers diverse agents in the social economy, such as community businesses and cooperative associations.

There will be a community business support team within the Social Enterprise Development Center which will be in charge of nurturing local community based enterprises. The team will also hire employees from the local community, having them train the local residents and support the start-ups.

The chief of the economic promotion department of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Hyeok-So GWON, said, "Seoul will be a leader in forming a social economic ecosystem led by citizens and supported by the public sector." He went on to say, "It is expected to create a new economic paradigm and to improve the quality of life of citizens, while realizing social values."

Jong-Min KIM

Translated: by Woo-Young PARK

Edited: by Kyoung-Ah JANG, Patrick Ferraro


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