Issue/WT foundation news2012.03.26 16:08

The tenth Open Forum for social entrepreneurship, "Let’s Talk about A to Z of Social Enterprise,” was held at the Work Together Foundation on November 26. This forum was organized by the Work Together Foundation and Hankyoreh Economic Institute (HERI).

 

 

The Tenth Open Forum for Social Entrepreneurship

'Entrepreneurs are innovators' (by Schumpeter)
'Therefore, social entrepreneurs have to be social innovators.'



The tenth Open Forum for social entrepreneurship invited Watanabe Nana, the writer ofChangemakers: Make the Impossible Possible from Japan, and allowed participants to listen about social entrepreneurs around the world. She talked to social entrepreneurs while she traveled from country to country; she explained how they started their social enterprises, their innovative systems and programs, their personal stories, their concerns and dreams about society, and their tips to change the abstract into reality.

 




The next session was "Social Entrepreneurship in Korea" by LEE Won Jae and LEE Hwa Joo from Hankyoreh Economic Research Institute. LEE Won Jae, the head of research at HERI, explained who social entrepreneurs are; they need to have willingness to innovate and catch opportunities, create social value, and plan fearlessly to overcome their limited resources as changemakers. He put an emphasis on selecting missions to create and keep social value. In addition, he took some examples of Oriental philosophy to build a concept of Asian social entrepreneurship.


LEE Hwa Joo, an associate researcher at HERI, presented an analysis of social entrepreneurs in Korea. According to the research results, most social entrepreneurs recognize social enterprise as an alternative social welfare system to make over public service from government; an enterprise overcoming capitalism; and a new and innovative enterprise. She envisioned that we could find the future of social enterprise in the development of creative and innovative management. On the other side, she explained that the biggest task social enterprises confront is securing financial resources and managing them. She also proposed having continuous networking and training for social entrepreneurs while showing that the satisfaction rate of Korean social entrepreneurs is relatively high at 88.9%, even with financial difficulties. 





 

After the main presentation, LEE Tae Geun, the CEO of Heuksalim, and LEE Chul Jong from Working Together Corporation shared their opinions on social entrepreneurship.

LEE Tae Geun told us his story about the foundation of Heuksalim, its development, and its impact on society. Heuksalim was founded twenty hours before the term social enterprise was created.

 

LEE Chul Jong from the Working Together Corporation, the first social enterprise transferred from the self-help community, defined social entrepreneurs as ‘people who make challenges they can take.’ He emphasized it is very dangerous to consider founding social enterprises or making them sustainable through support from the government, and that social entrepreneurs must analyze themselves seriously.


The tenth Open Forum was meaningful, since there were stories not only from social entrepreneurs but also journalists, researchers, and stakeholders.  They envisioned the sustainability of social enterprise and the role of social entrepreneurs and social enterprises in Korea.


Open Forum for social entrepreneurship is supporting on-going networking between practitioners and researchers to allow them to raise issues about social enterprises.

The forum has contributed to expanding the social base for social enterprises since 2007.

 

This forum was a part of the social entrepreneurs’ capability building project sponsored by SK and Community Chest Korea.





Edited and revised by Patrick Ferraro


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