In Research


Year: 2016
Published in: ICSEM Project
Cited as: Hwang, D. S., Jang, W., Park, J.-S. & Kim, S. (2016) “Social Enterprise in South Korea”, No. 35.


The purpose of this paper is to investigate the socio-economic background and development of social enterprises in Korea and identify representative social enterprise models.

The typology used in this study focuses on the interaction between civil society, the state and the market in their efforts to solve social problems. As a result, the typology is mainly related with social goals, although the organizational form is also taken into consideration when selecting representative social enterprises in each type so as to present a broad array of developmental histories.

This paper identified four types of social enterprises: work integration social enterprises; social service provision social enterprises; regional regeneration social enterprises; and alter-economy social enterprises. These types are not immutable; another form of social enterprise might emerge to address a new social issue and lead to a new strand of similar social enterprises.

This study found that the goals of social enterprises in Korea share common characteristics with those of social enterprises in European countries. Another outstanding feature of Korean social enterprises is that most social enterprises other than work integration social enterprises also regard work integration or job creation for the disadvantaged people as one of their important social missions.