This initiative follows the success of YBI's 2020-21 COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery programme, also supported by Google.org, which worked with entrepreneurs to sustain their businesses and overcome the initial impacts of the pandemic. This programme reached over 400,000 entrepreneurs in 32 countries across EMEA and APAC, including Korea, maintaining 95,628 jobs and with over 100,000 supported businesses still trading by the programme’s end.
To ensure the most vulnerable enterprises get the support they need, the program will deliver in-depth training and support with a focus on underserved groups in Korea including women and refugee social entrepreneurs, to help them build skills, confidence, and adaptability. 85.1% of social enterprises in Korea have reported reduced cash flows and 83.7% reported a drop in sales (ILO). Many social enterprises continue to lack sufficient knowledge and skills in business planning, innovation and operation. Moreover, last year the Korea Economic Research Institute reported that the sales of independent merchants (SMEs) were down 78.5% in the first half of the year alone and with business curfews recently being reintroduced to manage rising numbers of COVID cases, SMEs need support to pivot and adapt.
Over the next two years, YBI’s Korean delivery partners Work Together Foundation and Impact Square Inc will provide the following support to these SMEs and social enterprises:
Forums for social enterprises to share insights and knowledge on how social entrepreneurs have navigated COVID-19 successfully
Online and offline intensive training courses for early-stage social enterprises on key topics including business model development, digital transformation and marketing with a specialised track for women-led social enterprises dealing with gender specific business challenges
Peer networking events for social enterprises to receive in-depth business consulting and technical advice from business mentors
A mobile-friendly online platform that will provide access to support resources for SMEs, start-ups and social enterprises
Work Together Foundation will focus its efforts on in-depth training and support to build the skills, confidence and adaptability of social entrepreneurs, while Impact Square Inc will provide access to broad-based entrepreneurial resources for SMEs, start-ups and social enterprises through the development of an online platform.