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Market experts roll up their sleeves to help elderly people start businesses

Kim Sang-hun, a noted business consultant, recently advised on the opening of “Silver Day,” a caf run by the silver generation of those over 65 years old.

Kim lent a hand in working out the details, from selection of location to analyzing business feasibility. His firm, Start Business, consulted on interior and exterior designs, facility management, menu and purchase of ingredients as well as staff training.

“In the aging society, elderly citizens should be encouraged to participate in social activities and I am happy to help them with something I am good at,” he said.

Kim is among 700 marketers, publicity specialists, accountants and other professionals who support 4,400 elderly citizens in starting businesses. The supporters’ group was launched in a ceremony at the Press Center in downtown Seoul on Tuesday.

There are delegations from the Korea Certified Public Labor Attorneys Association, the Korea Small Marketing Business Association, the Social Solidarity Bank, the Korea Institute of Design Promotion and the Federation of Korean Industries, who decided to share their talents with people who have posted their business ideas on www.100senuri.go.kr.

According to the ministry, most of the newly started businesses tend to stay in the areas of handmade soap merchandise, tea houses and noodle canteens. However, due to lack of information and experience, they struggle in the market and close relatively soon.

“This is the first time a support team of this kind has been formed. For a long time, the necessity for elderly people to start a business or get involved in social projects for their happiness has been much talked of. The advisers will look over individual projects and give advice on even the pettiest dos and don’ts,” a Ministry of Health and Welfare official told The Korea Herald.

“The launch of the group is part of Nanum (sharing) project the ministry is pushing. The supporters are sharing their talents and knowledge in their own ways. That is a great charity, too.”

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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