Vikas is a staff writer for the Sustainable Development news and editorial section on Justmeans. He is an MBA with 20 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience and global travel. He is the author of "The Power of Money" (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas is also the official writer...
Retail Store in Korea to Support Social Enterprises
At the outset, Store 36.5 in Republic of Korea appears to be an average retail store like any other. However, if you look closely, you will be surprised to know that every product sold in this store has a good reason to be purchased. This is because every single product has been made by one dedicated social enterprise or the other. Store 36.5 is the first Korean store that is totally devoted to the promotion of social enterprises.
If you wish to purchase a bottle of bean paste, you will discover that the paste has been produced by ethnic Korean descendants who suffered oppression at the hands of Joseph Stalin in the 1930s, and are now relocating and struggling to settle down in their home country.
Similarly, if you end up purchasing a jar of plum extract from this store, you will be supporting workers suffering from Down syndrome. Each such purchase ends up helping create more jobs and financial opportunities for the communities.
The store's opening ceremony took place in the presence of Korea's labor minister Lee Chae-pill. The minister spoke with a lot of hope about the potential impact of this concept to promote social enterprises. He said: "Store 36.5 is the first effort to bring social enterprises in Korea closer to customers in their everyday lives. The government will continue to support social enterprises until they become self-sustainable and economically-competitive, through various programs such as public procurement and tax incentives."
Store 36.5 is located in Sadang area in southern Seoul. The store will operate as a multi-purpose venue that combines shopping with a cafe and community space for social meetings and seminars. The store will not only promote and sell chosen items from various social enterprises in the country, but also sees itself as a platform for socially conscious companies to promote their products and services.
Special events and a number of cultural programs are planned as a part of the store's campaign to increase public awareness of social enterprises. The local government has provided real estate for Store 36.5, while the state-run Korea Social Enterprise Promotion Agency will provide the finances for its remodeling and operational costs.
Source: Korea Herald
Photo Credit: 7rains