SK innovation has discovered and nurtured star social enterprises continuously
based on accumulated experience and knowledge.
The birth of a star social enterprise has led to the activation of the social and economic ecosystems in surrounding areas and, in addition, has helped expand and transfer social values to related social enterprises, just like a butterfly effect. The model has gained recognition, both internally and externally.
Considering that because of the nature of social enterprises, it is highly adverse for them to secure business competitiveness and sustainability, SK innovation has recognized the need to nurture social enterprises that can be sustainable and self-reliant.
In 2017, we shifted to fostering star social enterprises, as well as selected and cultivated Chunuri and Morethan as star social enterprises by taking into consideration the potential for growth and social value of their business models among the social enterprises we were nurturing.
The SK innovation actively shared its own assets and infrastructure such as consulting for business, enhancement of product competitiveness, publicity and marketing with the social enterprises, to improve their business performance and grow into star social enterprises. Then, SK innovation selected Usisan in Ulsan as the third star social enterprise and has been nurturing it as a success model.
Jeonju Bibimppang is the flagship bread product of Chunuri. Its sales started to increase rapidly after the product gained a word-of-mouth recognition with the story of “It sells a lot while making no money.” Since its assistance in the initial investment for Chunuri in 2013, SK innovation has built an open platform for it by sharing the infrastructure of SK group and affiliates, and has been fully supporting and helping it become a successful model of a star social enterprise.
As the business of Jeonju Bihimppang has grown, the number of employees has increased from the initial 4 employees to current 40 regular ones. Chunuri also established an affiliated research institute and has employed a young and talented workforce with master or doctor degrees. In addition, Chunuri has contributed to the vitalization of the local economy through the expansion of not only local foods, such as purchasing local agricultural products, but also associated employment and sales, such as consigning production through other small social enterprises in the region, and also through the revitalization of the commercial area of the old town area of Jeonju. Chunuri has opened three more stores in Jeonju and Iksan, in addition to the main store, and plans to open a store in Jeonju KTX station in 2019. Based on the success of Jeonju Bibimppang, Chunuri has been expanding by building an economic vitalization platform in the Jeonbuk region through the Jeonbuk Social Economy Alliance. Recognized for these achievements, Chunuri received the 2017 Korea Social Enterprise Award and was invited to the meeting with the president as an excellent representative company in Jeollabuk-do.
Morethan is a social enterprise that produces fashion items such as bags and wallets by upcycling by-products such as leather seats and airbags that are not recycled from cars. Based on the knowledge of fostering star social enterprises, SK innovation promoted the sharing of infrastructure suitable for the fashion industry. In particular, SK innovation actively promoted the brands of Morethan through popular programs and celebrities through cooperation with entertainment companies.
In addition, the products of Morethan were launched as the first “Good Product” of the SK Store. As the merchandisers recognized the products of Morethan in their design and quality, the social enterprise has been expanding sales outlets by opening in the JDC duty free shop. Thanks to this growth, Morethan was introduced as a success story at the “2018 Global Sustainable Development Forum.” Furthermore, Morethan was selected as an exemplary enterprise for job creation in Korea and was invited as a member of the group for the state visit to France in 2018, having an opportunity to present a success story as a Korean start-up company at the Korea-France Business Summit.
Usisan, the third star social enterprise, is an environmental social enterprise that contributes to activating the local economy by developing as cultural contents products the whales of Jansaengpo of Ulsan, which do not appear again because of environmental pollution. Certified as a tourism venture company by the Korea Tourism Organization, Usisan has created jobs for vulnerable groups through various businesses that use whales in industrial cities as contents, and has expanded the cultural base of the underprivileged by holding exhibitions for local artists in gallery cafes. In addition, with some of the proceeds generated through various experience programs such as the Jangsaengpo Whale Museum souvenir shop and a post office in the Whale Culture Village, Usisan supports the research and various protective activities for endangered whales. Usisan will continue to create more social value as a representative social enterprise that protects the marine environment of Korea and transforms the industrial city of Ulsan into an eco-friendly tourist city.