Social entrepreneurship is developing and evolving in unique ways around the globe. In Asia, South Korea has both government

1. South Korea is the only country in East Asia to legally define a “social enterprise.”

It was passed as part of the 2006 Social Enterprise Promotion Act (SEPA), and went into effect in 2007. The government defines a social enterprise as “a company or organization which performs business activities while putting priority on the pursuit of social purposes.”
A company or organization must go these 7 steps before being certified as a social enterprise in Korea.
According to an this article published in the Social Enterprise Journal in 2011, SEPA was in part influenced by British law and social cooperative law passed in Italy in 1991.
A social enterprise in Korea can be a non-profit or for-profit organization.
Seoul by night
photo by @koshyk

 

2. In 2011, the Korean government introduced a plan to support social enterprises through preferred contracts, expanded funding channels, and exclusive business management programs specifically for social enterprises.

 

3. South Korea hosted multiple conferences on social enterprise in 2014 including the 8th Annual Social Enterprise World Forum (Oct 2014), the 3rd International Conference on Social Enterprise in Asia (Jul 2014).

 

SEWF brought together 600-800 thought leaders, academics, and practitioners around the theme “Social Change through Social Enterprise.”

The Conference on Social Enterprise in Asia in July also integrated conferences including the The Eastern ICSEM Symposium took place in Wonju (South Korea) and the Social Enterprise Leaders Forum (SELF) 2014 bringing together over 600 participants including academics, social entrepreneurs, and government officials.

Seoul will host the 12th annual SAGE World Cup finals for high school social entrepreneurs in August 2015.

 

4. As of November 2014, there are 1,165 certified social enterprises in South Korea. The government aims to promote more than 3,000 certified social enterprises by 2017. (cited from Rappler).

 

This is especially significant considering the country’s strong economic position as the 15th largest global economy, according the World Bank.



5. Seoul Mayor, Won-Soon Park, has taken an active role in facilitating social entrepreneurship in the city of 10M.

 

Mayor Park introduced was Cheong-Chek – or the Listening Policy– and founded the Hope Institute for collaboration and action.

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