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SK to launch research unit on social enterprises

SK Group is set to establish a nonprofit foundation in March to research ways of solving social programs by nurturing social enterprises, according to industry sources Thursday.

The South Korean conglomerate said it has been planning the research unit to look into specific ideas for social enterprises not only to produce profits but also to bring changes to communities -- a corporate vision driven by its chief’s command.

Chairman Chey Tae-won has been supporting social enterprises for years by running an incentive system. Financial assistance is offered to social enterprises participating in the SK program by measuring how much of a contribution they have made to society.

SK Chairman Chey Tae-won (SK Group)
SK Chairman Chey Tae-won (SK Group)

SK Group, as well as its top decision-making council, Supex, is likely to cover the operation cost of the foundation.

At a meeting with new employees, Chey also stressed the need to bring fresh ideas to realize so-called “sharing infrastructure,” a SK official said.

Chey has been touting that businesses can produce social value by pursuing ways to promote the sharing economy nationwide.

The sharing economy can simply refer to well-known platforms like Uber and Airbnb, or in the broader sense of all democratized marketplaces.

SK Innovation, the conglomerate’s energy arm, said late last year that it would provide 3,600 gas stations across the country as a platform of the sharing economy.

By Cho Chung-un (