Invigoration of Neighborhood Districts
[Mayor Park Won Soon’s Hope Journal 143]
We at Seoul Metropolitan Government are taking positive measures to help breathe life into neighborhood commercial establishments. We proposed comprehensive measures to provide support for neighborhood store owners who are having difficulty due to the competition with large-sized marts and super supermarkets (SSM). The plan for the protection of small-sized store owners as announced by Seoul Metropolitan Government on May 17 includes the following: ▴ provision of special support for small-sized store owners suffering from operational difficulties; ▴ provision of support for programs encouraging collaboration between small store owners, and; ▴ provision of consulting for small-sized supermarkets.
First of all, Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide consulting on the improvement of management and switching types of business to owners of bakeries, beauty parlors, and restaurants with less than five employees and who are in dire operational situation as part of efforts to provide support for small-sized neighborhood businesses. The store owners who will receive such consulting will number 100 in each half of the year. The consulting on the improvement of management will focus on customer management, service mindset, system for fund support or provision of guarantee for small-sized business owners, and marketing. They will also go through the education process of detecting operational problems and finding solutions to them with the help of management consultants, tax accountants, and labor experts. Selected businesses will receive SME development fund.
Seoul Metropolitan Government will run a program for the provision of support to a group of small-sized store owners running similar types of businesses in a district, working together for brand development, purchase of materials, and marketing to build their competitiveness. Those selected will be given the benefit of use of joint sales space and other facilities, establishment of a joint system of operation, development of joint brand, joint purchase of materials, and joint marketing, with 90% of the expense to be paid by Seoul Metropolitan Government. They will also be able to publicize themselves using Seoul Metropolitan Government-owned channels. In addition, Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide on-site management consulting (e.g., location, merchandise composition and management, how to handle customers, how to display goods, and customer management based on the Point of Sales system) at neighborhood supermarkets.
Small-sized store owners are essential elements in the local economy of Seoul. Seoul Metropolitan Government will continue to foster an environment conducive to the business of small-sized store owners, at the same time laying the groundwork that will help them co-exist with large-sized businesses with a view to realizing the dream of a happy community where people share what they have with others.