By Lee Hyo-sik
SK Group has extended 4.8 billion won ($4.2 million) in incentives to 93 selected social enterprises as part of efforts to nurture startups that contribute to solving diverse social issues.
Under the leadership of Chairman Chey Tae-won, Korea’s third-largest conglomerate has been supporting social enterprises that hire the disabled, carry out community improvement programs and conduct other social projects since 2015.
Chey invested 10 billion won out of his pocket to establish a social enterprise in 2015, and SK has been providing incentives to social enterprises through it since 2016. It measures the social value created by enterprises and matches their contributions with monetary rewards.
On Thursday, SK held the 2nd Social Performance Incentive Award ceremony at Yonsei University in Seoul, offering 4.8 billion won in incentives to 93 social enterprises. It also organized a series of roundtables about the project’s achievements and goals going forward, one of which was chaired by Chairman Chey.
Chey said SK would extend financial aid to social enterprises to ease their financial difficulties and create a virtuous ecosystem for entities that do social work without having to worry about money.
After being subject to stringent scrutiny annually, the recipients are eligible for incentives for up to three years. SK evaluates enterprises in four categories: job creation, provision of social services, environment conservation and ecosystem protection.
In 2016, the group offered incentives to 44 social companies, creating a combined social value worth 10.3 billion won. This year, 93 firms are estimated to have generated 20.1 billion won of social value.
In a roundtable talk with Labor Minister Lee Ki-kweon and other high-profile guests, Chey said Korea should create an environment in which social enterprises have easier access to financial services and receive investments in a timely manner.
“We also need to build a platform allowing all social enterprises to share the wealth of information concerning their businesses,” the chairman said. “Through this extensive platform, social firms can create a virtuous ecosystem. We will need to establish a separate investment fund to continue providing financial support for those who get off the incentive list.”