SEOUL, September 28, 2017 – Peachmarket, a non-profit social venture in Korea, provides education services to slow-learning people including those with developmental disabilities and mentally challenged people. Compared with profit-making companies, it is relatively hard for such an organization to receive financial investment. Peachmarket is no exception. They had no option but to produce less than five education materials a year.
However, the situation has changed recently. They were selected as one of the recipient social ventures for the Youth Social Innovation Project, and qualified to receive up to 400 million won (US$ 349,000) for the next two years. Now they are able to run ‘slow schools’ both in Gangnam and Gangbuk (the south part of Seoul and the north, respectively), and also create ‘easy-writing’ textbooks and about twenty educational film materials.
The Youth Social Innovation Project, so-called “Remake City, Seoul,” is organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and implemented by Crevisse, an Impact Ventures Group, in an attempt to resolve diverse social problems through young people’s innovative ideas, and stimulate the job market for the youth.
The SMG started its recruitment in May, and more than 80 applications were submitted. Among them, a total of fourteen social ventures were selected and around 9 billion won (US$ 7.85 million) will be invested for the next two years. A maximum of one billion won can be invested per recipient. The SMG and all of selected social ventures have completed their signing of memorandum of understandings on September 25, 2017.
The average age of employees at these social ventures is 34. If they need more employees for the Project, they should hire fifty percent of people aged between 19 and 39, and maintain the employment by the end of the Project.
They will conduct a number of programs in four categories – education, city, culture and environment. Some of examples are “Re-dreaming Factory,” a project that operates skilled artisan-centered upcycling centers and transforms disappearing small electric shops in the neighborhood into a new social innovation model (by Enlighten); “Slow School” where produces and distributes easy education materials for slow-learners in order to bridge the education and information gap (by Peachmarket); and “LeadMe SEOUL U” that creates a digital platform to share diverse career experiences for those who seek a job and plan to start their own business (by Raize GLS).
The SMG said, “To find a fundamental solution to social problems, we need to break the existing frame and create a new system where the public and the private sectors can cooperate and unite their efforts and capabilities.” He also added, “This Youth Social Innovation Project will make a contribution to establishing this new system the SMG and social ventures can work together for social innovation.”
Through this social innovation project, the SMG will provide new business models to the private sector while avoiding the implementation of short-term performance-oriented support policies for start-ups and their employment.
The SMG says it will have 23 billion won worth of value creation, 2.5 times the total amount of investment, by creating 14.6 billion worth of financial value, 2.3 billion worth of employment and 6.1 billion worth of social value.
The SMG believes that through this Project it will see new business model development, social venture’s reinvestment and employment extension, and finally find out ways to solve social problems.
Until October 2018, the SMG plans to provide consultation services and systematic management so that participating social ventures carry out projects well and achieve their goals.