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Seoul gov’t seeks social venture accelorators

Apr 04,2018
The Seoul Metropolitan Government started recruiting accelerators Tuesday to help support its one-billion-won initiative to develop social ventures.

Accelerators are private organizations that offer training and mentoring sessions to early-stage startups. Many invest in the ventures in exchange for company shares.

The city government will select accelerators that are based in Seoul and have experience working with social ventures in the city within the last two years. The winners of the bid will work with social ventures in developing their business models and attracting external investors.

Around five accelerators will be selected after the city closes bidding in two weeks. Each accelerator will be allocated funds from the one-billion-won budget with a maximum limit of 300 million won each. There is no limit to the number of social ventures that one accelerator can support.

Unlike most private companies that judge success exclusively on profit, social ventures aim to solve specific problems in society like jobs and accommodation.

Among the ventures that participate in the project, a select few will receive a financial reward from the city and SK Group, based on the contributions they make to society. SK will oversee the process of converting the impact of the social ventures to monetary value.

SK has been rewarding ventures in the same way through its “Social Progress Credit” program since 2015 and has experience in financially evaluating social achievements. A total of 137 social ventures received incentives this way over the last two years.

“We received opinions from young social venture entrepreneurs. What they want is for the government to act as an agent or to create an ecosystem where they can receive more external investment and support,” said Noh Su-im, a deputy director at the city government’s social economy division.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]