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Social economy

Social economy refers to the economy system for various subjects such as social enterprise, co-op, self-supported enterprise, town enterprise, etc., created on the foundation of cooperation and reciprocity to realize social values including improving the quality of life, overcoming poverty and alienation, etc. In early January 2014, the Seoul Metropolitan Government developed and cultivated 1,503 social economy organizations including 425 social enterprises, 967 co-ops, and 111 town enterprises. Not only did we achieve quantity growth; we also focused on the transition of the social economy policy paradigm, providing solid foundation for the formation of a social economy ecosystem.

What’s a Seoul-type social enterprise?

Seoul-type social enterprise is a potential social enterprise that works with the goal of providing social service with high growth possibilities and profit making as well as realization of social goals but has yet to meet the certification conditions of the employment/labor department.


Forming a sustainable social economy ecosystem


Ratio of social economy at 2% against GRDP and 8% against total employment

Area of focus

  • Establishing a systematic intermediary support system
  • Customized general support for each development stage
  • Expanding the public realm consumer market
  • Establishing the foundation for local community-oriented cooperative ecosystem

Grounds of pursuit

  • Local community-based, citizen-led method
  • Establishing public/governmental network for cooperation and communication
  • UK (’06) social enterprise sales ratio: 2% against GDP; employment ratio among economically active population: 5%
  • Korea (’11) social enterprise sales ratio: 0.04% against GDP; employment ratio among economically active population: 0.1% (OECD average: 4.4%)
  • Seoul (’11) social enterprise sales ratio: 0.06% against GDP; employment ratio among economically active population: 0.2%

Social enterprise

Enterprise (group) that satisfies the 7 certification conditions of the employment department, which conducts business activities such as production of goods and services, sales, etc., while pursing social goals including increasing the quality of lives of the local residents by providing social service or jobs to minorities

Seoul-type social enterprise’s main business

  • Social welfare : Elderly delivery service, North Korean defector stabilization support, visitation recuperation service, etc.
  • Health and childcare: Multicultural family helper, dispatch of afterschool instructor, helping female sex crime victims start their own businesses
  • Culture and education : Cultural performance for the alienated, museum experience, disabled art activity business
  • Others (environment, IT) : Discarded electronics product·recycling bicycle collection/sales, house restoration business
Seoul-type social enterprise’s main business
Seoul-type social enterprise’s main business