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MOEL hosts Social Enterprise Leaders Forum 2017

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Jun. 23, 2017


The Social Enterprise Leaders Forum, hosted by the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL, Minister Lee Ki-kweon) and organized by the Korea Social Enterprise Promotion Agency (KoSEA, President Oh Kwang-seong), was held at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry on June 23rd (Fri.).


The Social Enterprise Leaders Forum, started in 2012, is a large-scale international event concerning social enterprises. The Forum held this year was the sixth of its kind.


The Forum invites prominent figures from home and aborad to share and discuss their countries' social enterprise policies and issues, related improvement measures, and so on.
This year's Forum was conducted under the theme, "Global Solidarity for the Next Decade: Centered on Asia"*.


* ▴2014: "Social Enterprises, A Key Actor in the Social Economy", ▴2015: "Young People, See Innovation through Social Enterprises", ▴2016: "Social Innovation by Social Enterprises"
Other Asian countries, including China, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan, have been much interested in social enterprises and the system of fostering social enterprises in Korea, seeing Korea as a successful model, and benchmarked their social enterprises and systems against Korea's for many years.


The Forum provided an opportunity for Korea to share the outcomes and know-how it had gained from fostering social enterprises and to discuss the spread of its social enterprise policy and challenges for the next ten years, with other Asian countries.


* Korea was ranked the number one country in terms of government policy and support system for social enterprises and named the seventh best country to be a social entrepreneur (Source: 2016 global research on social entrepreneurship in 45 major economies, which was conducted jointly by Thomson Reuters Foundation, GSEN and UnLtd)
Moreover, at the Forum, the Social Enterprise Leaders Alliance (SELA) was launched, led by Korea.


People from relevant institutions in major Asian countries, including Korea, China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, gathered in one place to discuss ways to promote social enterprises in Asia.


* The Social Enterprise Leaders Alliance (SELA) is a global network launched to promote social enterprises in major countries in the Asian region in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Social Enterprise Promotion Act.


SK Group Chairmen Chey Tae-won joined the Forum as a keynote speaker, and Yuan Ruijun, a professor at Peking University in China which is considering introducing a social enterprise certification system, and Dispanadda, a Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, a social enterprise under royal patronage in Thailand, shared and discussed their countries' social enterprise status.


Vice Minister of Employment and Labor Yi Sung-Ki, National Assembly member Jin Young, Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice's Co-representative Kim Wan-bae, British Council Korea Director Martin Fryer, etc., also attended to celebrate the Forum.


<Keynote speech>


Chairman Chey Tae-won mentioned in his keynote speech that social innovation through social enterprises is in the spotlight again these days as a means to solve diversified social problems and ensure economic sustainability.


He explained that efforts to achieve innovation through social enterprises are driving innovation not only in the social economy sector but also in the general for-profit economy sector.


* The Dasomi Foundation, Korea's first certified social enterprise, introduced a joint patient care program and is spreading it, and Jeju Olle, another social enterprise, is spreading Olle trails nationwide by developing such walking-only trails.


He also emphasized that Korea need to create a favorable environment for starting a social enterprise if it is to increase the share of its social enterprise sector to 3% of GDP and the number of social enterprises to 100,000 in the next ten years.


To that end, he said, it is necessary to publicize social enterprises' social performance and give them incentives under a social performance measurement system, to help social enterprises in every possible way to find new markets and to focus on fostering talent for social enterprises.


He stressed that this will make Korea the best country for social enterprises and Asia the largest social economy community in the world.


<Case presentations>


Cho Young-bok, President of the Research Institute for Social Enterprise, explained the concrete outcomes and challenges of Korea's social enterprise promotion policy over the past ten years and changes to Korean society caused by them.


He said that future tasks include achieving qualitative growth through public-private partnerships, measuring social value, promoting social finance and strengthening business expertise in pursuing social innovation. 


Yuan Ruijun, a professor at Peking University in China, talked about present and future challenges for social enterprises in China under the theme, "A Study of China's Social Enterprise Status and Social Enterprise Certification System".


There are estimated to be more than 2,700 social enterprises in China. The social issues those social enterprises are dealing with are becoming gradually diversified and their number is increasing rapidly.


* % increase in the number of social enterprises in China: 14.2% in 2013, 19.8% in 2014, 16.3% in 2015


* The social issues social enterprises in China are dealing with: education (31.8%), the disabled (28.2%), employment (20.9%), poverty eradication (17.9%), ageing society (16.9%)
And yet, China has neither policy nor law concerning social enterprises and lacks a clear definition of social enterprise and relevant certification criteria.


However, recently there has been a growing move to promote social enterprises in China. For example, the city of Shenzhen and the China Charity Fair are working together to introduce a social enterprise certification system.


Dispanadda Diskul, a Deputy CEO of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under royal patronage in Thailand, talked about the Thai government's efforts to promote social enterprises, such as setting up public institutions (TSEB and TSEO) to support social enterprises, establishing a five-year plan to foster social enterprises and creating a fund to support social enterprises.
He also said that the country's future tasks include institutionalizing social enterprises by enacting the pending social enterprise promotion bill, enhancing the reliability of social enterprises and reinforcing their level of capability to world class. 


Yi Sung-Ki, Vice Minister of Employment and Labor, said, "Thanks to its efforts over the past ten years since the enactment of the Social Enterprise Promotion Act, Korea's global standing in terms of social enterprise has greatly improved."


"I hope what we exchange today will help social enterprises make a step forward and will contribute to strengthened international solidarity and cooperation."


He also said, "The government will pursue the promotion of social enterprises as one of its national policy tasks and focus on fostering talent for the social economy. And the government will spare no effort to help social enterprises find new markets and to lay the groundwork for social finance so that social enterprises can stand on their own and continue to grow."

Last Modifide Date   :   Tue July 4, 2017
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