This year, Seoul City is expanding the purchase of goods and services from companies hiring vulnerable social groups to 2.6 trillion won, the largest volume among public institutions. Here, companies hiring vulnerable social groups mean those productions and sales facilities hiring severely disabled persons, social enterprises, companies run by handicapped people, self-sustaining companies, women-owned businesses, and other small- and medium-sized enterprises.
From this year, community businesses and cooperatives are also included in the category. In addition to purchasing their goods and services, various distribution channels will be expanded to support their sales in the private market. At the same time, a comprehensive support policy will be executed to strengthen their ability and competitiveness. Unlike sporadic or one-off support, such policy will nurture the companies properly so that they could become sustainable.
Frankly, for a long time, I have believed that society can be changed and innovated through public purchase as a tool. After all, Seoul City and its affiliated organizations inevitably buy certain goods and services. Other things held equal (if the quality and level are the same), we may purchase from companies hiring vulnerable social groups to help the latter and increase their employment. Of course, this means saving on costs of social welfare, too.
The creative and innovative experiments of Seoul City will continue.
Mayor Park Won Soon introducing the products displayed in the Citizens’ Hall