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Era of Social Value is Emerging
SOVAC 2019 Encourages Innovations to Solve Social Problems
Era of Social Value is Emerging
  • By Michael Herh
  • May 29, 2019, 08:35
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SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won (center in the front row) buys a stationery set at Grape Lab, a social venture firm hiring people with developmental disabilities, at SOVAC 2019 on May 28.

SK Group hosted Social Value Connect (SOVAC) 2019 in Seoul on May 28. More than 4,000 entrepreneurs, non-profit organization members, college students and citizens attended the event proposed by SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won.

Over 80 organizations and groups took part as partners in the event held under the theme of paradigm shift toward social value. “Now is the time we need new innovations to better deal with social problems,” said Cho Dae-shik, head of the group’s Supex Council and SOVAC organizing committee, adding, “SOVAC 2019 is where thoughts about social value can be shared and connected.”

At the opening session of the event, social enterprise Craypas, Samjin Amook, and the Seoul Office of the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) made presentations on social values they have created. At the following panel discussion, Microsoft Korea vice president Chung Sung-mi, Sungkyunkwan University professor Kim Tae-young, Naver co-founder Kim Jeong-ho and many more discussed successful cases of social value creation and policy support necessary for it. The Naver co-founder is currently running Bear Better, a social enterprise hiring people with developmental disabilities.

After the panel discussion, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) provided consulting for social venture firms and young entrepreneurs along with the Korea Social Enterprise Promotion Agency (KoSEA) and Korea Technology Finance Corp. (KOTEC). More than 50 exhibition booths were visited by those wishing to experience and purchase products made by social enterprises.

The 4th Social Progress Credit Awards marked the grand finale of this year’s SOVAC. The awarding ceremony, proposed by the SK Group chairman, is to provide monetary incentives for social enterprises creating more social values. A total of 130 social enterprises were given 14.8 billion won of incentives from 2016 to 2018 and 188 were given 8.7 billion won this year in return for 45.6 billion won of social value they created. During the four years, those companies created a total social value of 107.8 billion won.

“SOVAC is for more people to become aware of the importance of social value creation and interconnect themselves for the great cause,” said the SK Group chairman, continuing, “Enterprises can prosper and people’s well-being can be ensured only when their society is sustainable.”