“The project is aimed at supporting students’ dreams, encouraging creativity, and giving long-term support to fulfill their goals,” said Ulf Ausprung, chief executive of Han Sung Motor.
“I’ve seen many successful and emotionally rewarding cases through the project, and my wish is to further expand the program so that more talented students can benefit from it.”
The Dream Gream Project, which started in 2012 largely inspired by the German CEO’s own passion for the arts, is part of the company’s ongoing effort to leave a bigger footprint in Korea, where it has operated for almost 30 years.
Han Sung Motor was the first to introduce Mercedes-Benz to Korean roads back in 1985. It has seen staggering growth over the past decades here.
The company now boasts the largest sales network of the German premium brand, consisting of 11 showrooms and 13 service centers nationwide. The number of employees has surged to over 1,000.
|Han Sung Motor CEO Ulf Ausprung (right) and art students of the company’s “Dream Gream Project” pose next to their work titled “Dynamic: Connecting the Hearts” during an event celebrating the program’s third anniversary at Korea House in Pil-dong, central Seoul, June 23. (Han Sung Motor)|
Currently, a total of 20 students from underprivileged families are benefiting from the program every year. They receive financial support for their monthly painting classes and are invited to join cultural activities on a regular basis until high school graduation.
After a student graduates, a junior member is selected to fill the vacancy. All evaluations for vacancies are based on a thorough evaluation of applications, art works they submit and their financial background.
They are partnered with a mentor who is a college student majoring in art. The company also encourages all Han Sung members, including office workers at the headquarters and sales people nationwide, to play a mentoring role for the kids.
Especially during a summer intensive art camp, all the students, mentors and company officials, including the CEO, gather to carry out artistic missions together and have fun.
“At the camp, we find marvelous pieces of artwork which show the students’ amazing talent put on display,” said Ausprung.
“The Dream Gream Project itself has a very solid foundation. But every year we make efforts to find different ways to further improve the program and we can find achievements in this entire process.”
From this year, the company has decided to focus more on communicating and sharing with the public through the art program.
In partnership with Seoul Foundation of Arts and Culture, the students plan to team up with young artists to breathe fresh life into Seoul’s poor neighborhoods through jointly produced art works.
They also will be participating in charitable activities, such as drawing caricatures and donating furniture that they make for senior citizens at welfare facilities.
“CSR is now becoming integral to a company’s sustainable business. From the early stages, we’ve made it very clear that our CSR action will not be a mere one-time donation, but that the corporation itself will support and guide the students as they grow closer to fulfilling their dreams,” he said.
“I hope that more businesses will strengthen their CSR initiatives and make their input to society in a sincere manner.”
Ausprung, an industry veteran with 20 years of experience at global carmakers, is a devoted lecturer on the crucial role of design and marketing across industries.
During his previous stay in China, he taught college students at art schools. Since joining the Korean team in 2011, he has also continued offering special lectures at schools, including the prestigious art school Hongik University.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)