Social Enterprise in South Korea

For people looking for information about social enterprise beyond the usual suspects, the Korea Herald has just published a couple of useful articles on the state of social enterprise in South Korea.

What is Social Enterprise? provides an introduction to the concept to local readers. Most noteworthy: the article's emphasis on job creation, as well as its definition of social enterprises as profit-making businesses that make social benefit central to their mission, thus distinguishing them "from nonprofit organizations or those that depend on donations or state subsidies for their operation."

While any number of Westerners may disagree with that definition, it is at least a partial reflection of South Korea's Social Enterprise Promotion Act, the 2007 that set standards for the certification of social enterprises by the country's Labor Ministry. For more on that Act and the standards it sets--including the place of cooperatives and entrepreneurial nonprofits--this essay by Chan-ung Park provides a helpful overview.

The Korea Herald's second article, an interview with "Kim Sung-ho, a former health and welfare minister who is now co-head of the Sustainable Social Responsibility Forum." A central theme in this piece is Sung-ho's proposal for a "one business-one social enterprise movement," through which the commercial sector would commit to creating and sustaining social enterprises. Also worth noting is his call for more government support, a proposal that is somewhat controversial among proponents of more traditional state-sponsored welfare programs.