Seoul boasts a burgeoning social economy, with 3,000 active self-supporting, social, and community enterprises, cooperatives, and youth social ventures as of the end of 2015.

These social economy organizations are ushering in positive changes throughout Seoul, introducing more stable and better-paying jobs, increasing the reach of social services, leading ethical and local consumption, revitalizing the local economy based on self-support and solidarity, and finding innovative solutions to a variety of urban problems. The Seoul Social Economy Center (SSEC) serves to link the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), these various organizations of the social economy, and citizens toward perfecting a sustainable and “Seoul-style” model of the social economy.


Collaboration Hub: Growth through Communication and Participation
Seoul Social Economy Center

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The SSECprovides a comprehensive range of support for the creation and growth of a sustainable social economy ecosystem in Seoul, serving as a central hub for networking and collaboration between diverse actors.

First established in Seoul in January 2013 as an innovative model of public-private partnership, the SSEC has been functioning as an open platform that links different regions, groups, people and jobs, and social economy organizations and investors.

The SSEC brings together aspiring social entrepreneurs, social economy organizations, industry/sector/regional associations, intermediary support agencies and other actors to devise and implement various projects of collaboration, while providing strategic and tailored forms of support for enterprises at different levels of growth.

서울 사회적경제 네트워크 현황
*As of the end of 2015 (with overlapping categories)
  • 421
    social enterprises
  • 2200
  • 114
    community enterprises
  • 194
    self-supporting enterprises


Aspiring social economy actors are economic players willing to work according to the principles of cooperation and solidarity and use innovative approaches to social problems.

The SSEC supports the development and training of these aspiring social economy actors and realization of their innovative ideas.

Wiki Seoul: Contest of Creative Ideas for the Social Economy

These semi-annual public contests encourage citizens to put forward diverse new ideas for solving urban problems concerning care, the environment, and jobs, and to achieve social change through the social economy.

Consultation on establishment and certification of social economy organizations

The SSEC provides essential consultation, education, and training for aspiring organizations and entrepreneurs seeking to establish new community enterprises, cooperatives, social enterprises, and self-support groups, helping them develop effective business models and master related concepts and procedures.

Human Resource Development

The SSEC supports the enhancement of capabilities in social enterpreneurs and social economy leaders. The Center provides diverse programs on competency and skill development at multiple levels, including field trips to areas of the social economy and a training academy with a systematic curriculum.

  • Social Economy Academy
  • Supporting young innovators for the social economy

Management Support

The SSEC provides management support in various forms tailored to the specific needs and concerns of social economy orgnanizations toward ensuring their substantial growth. Expert consultants and advisors at the Center provide a wide range of services that businesses need at different stages of growth, including management consulting, basic education and training, and assistance with legal, accounting and technical matters.

  • Consulting
  • Accounting, IT support
  • Legal advice

Market Support

The SSEC provides marketing support that helps social economy organizations enhance the appeal of their products and services and pioneer diverse channels of distribution, including the public procurement market. SSEC marketing support advertises the value and significance of social economy organization products and services, raising public awareness and promoting more ethical consumer behavior.

  • Enhancing the Social Value of Public Purchases
  • Distribution and marketing support
  • Hamkke Nuri, an online mall of social economy products(

Supporting Collaboration

The SSEC fosters ecosystems for the social economy in Seoul by extending networks of collaboration across industries, areas, and sectors, and by organizing collaborative projects. The SSEC strengthens public-private partnership on the social economy at the Gu borough level, presents new models of collaboration (including social economy spaces catering to local needs), and expands the scope and reach of solidarity worldwide.

  • Supporting Collaboration for Social Economy
  • Supporting Gu borough-level ecosystems for the social economy
  • Providing working spaces
  • Coworking spaces

Enlarging Scale

The SSEC supports strategic and social economy-inspired approaches to solving daily life problems of immediate relevance to the people in Seoul. The Center strives to spread and reproduce business models that run on the principles of social economy (collaboration, mutual benefit, and solidarity), enlarge the social economy, and maximize its relevance and value to citizens.

  • Fostering the Growth of Key Social Economy Industries
  • Designating and supporting Social Economy Zones
  • upporting the overseas training of social economy actors

Financial Assistance

The SSEC organizes competitive processes for discovering innovative business ideas and selecting prospective enterprises eligible for its financial support and referrals to greater policy funding and private capital. These forms of financial support provide nascent enterprises with a stable basis for growth and allow them to seize upon new business opportunities.

  • Financial support for Seoul-style innovative businesses
    The SSEC organizes a public and competitive process for discovering and supporting innovative business models solving urban problems, including those related to child and elderly care, housing and urban renewal, school lunches and distribution, culture and education. The Center also connects recipients with greater sources of funding, consulting, and investors.
  • Financial support for exemplary Seoul-style social economy businesses
    Prospective enterprises with proven potential for further growth are provided with support for expanding channels of marketing and distribution and other customized forms of support they need so that they may grow into competitive “Hero Enterprises” of Seoul.
  • Seoul Social Investment Fund
    This first-ever public-private partnership on fundraising for the social economy in Asia makes social investment in diverse enterprises and projects that address urban issues.(Korea Social Investment Fund,

The SSEC is to support research on policymaking and the way the social economy transforms lives, by encouraging new approaches to social problems. The Center also supports public dissemination of and policymaking related to the discovered potential and values of the social economy.

Seoul, as the inaugural chair city for the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF) which came into being in November 2014, actively supports the GSEF activities that share and spread examples of urban innovation and global crisis management through social economy solutions. GSEF awaits increasing participation from local governments and social economy organizations worldwide.


Managing the Collaboration Hub(inside the SSEC)

SSEC efforts to share social economy-related issues and support social economy actors and their networking include providing coworking spaces, venues for public events and education, and markets for exhibiting and selling social economy products, as well as organizing diverse programs such as colloquiums and forums.



1st fl., 685 Tongil-ro (Unit 1), Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul
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