the 8th ILO Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy in Korea

“Innovative Ecosystems for SSE Public Policies; its contribution to the future of work”

 

Background

The 8th ILO Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) is to be held in Seoul, Korea from June 26th-30th, 2017. The Academy will be in its first version in Asia after last successful trainings in Europe, North America, Africa, and Latin America, since 2010.

Social and solidarity economy (SSE) has a potentially important role to play in reorienting economies and societies toward greater social and ecological sustainability. Especially in Asia, where the rapid urbanization and migration have brought up many urban issues including poverty, inequality, along with safety and environmental issues, the SSE has emerged as a tangible, alternative solution. In the last decades, the SSE in Asia has developed considerably, in various fields and areas. The social and solidarity economy in Asia ranges from producers’ cooperatives as local development plans, consumers’ cooperatives in urban communities, workers’ unions, community businesses, to social ventures and impact investors. Beyond these voluntary movements, there have been also various efforts by the central and local governments to promote SSE as a solution to local economic development, to generate employment, or as an alternative for social services. Although in some Asian countries the term of SSE has not been recognized by the general public and policy makers, the tradition of collective entrepreneurship or co-ownership of public resources has existed for a long time.

This Academy aims to create an agora for discussion for all the diverse movements in Asia and an opportunity to share achievements and challenges amongst peers from other countries. Furthermore, it hopes to build a network of practitioners, and get support and insights to develop initiatives, even after the event.

 

SSE in Seoul and Korea.

Korea has received much attention from the international community of SSE because of the rapid growth of SSE enterprises in the last decade driven by strong governmental support. Especially in Korea’s capital city, Seoul, the local government has strategically pursued its own social economy development plan for the last five years and tried to build up a local ecosystem and enabling environment for SSE organizations based on a strong public-civil partnership. The number of SSE enterprises increased from 718(in 2011) to 3,054(in 2015), and these new enterprises created over 17,900 new jobs. The annual revenue of the SSE enterprises was 1.28 billion dollars in 2014, which contributes to the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) to the order of 0.4%.

It might be too early to evaluate policy impact at this time, but throughout the academy, the trials and errors experienced by Korean practitioners of SSE will be shared, and participants will learn about the ecosystem being built. The experience of Seoul and Korea can then inspire other practitioners in Asia and on other continents.

 

The Main Theme of the Academy

The main theme of the Academy is “Innovative Ecosystems for SSE Public Policies and their Contribution to The Future of Work.” Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to promote SSE, it is important to acknowledge that state intervention on any level including laws, policies or development plans is necessary to create an ecosystem nurturing SSE. ‘Ecosystems’ for SSE include laws and regulations, capitals and finance, markets, human resources, support systems, networks, etc. To build up a strong ecosystem for SSE, the co-construction of public policy and participatory governance is also very important factor.

By promoting SSE through suitable ecosystems for SSE organizations, innovative ideas for the future of work could be achieved. With its social and democratic values and equitable nature, SSE enterprises are showing what sustainable and inclusive workplaces look like despite the rising challenges of polarization, technological innovation, unemployment and unstable jobs.

 

Sub-topics of the Academy

The sub-topics of the Academy cover each aspect of an innovative ecosystem for SSE, including legal framework, social finance, networks, business development services and trainings, south-south and triangular cooperation, social innovation and the role of government, employers and workers’ organizations. In addition, SSE potential in achieving SDGs will be covered through cases and evidences from the field, and the sharing of best practices.

The proposed sub topics are:

  • Legal framework and certification system
  • Social finance and SSE
  • South-South and Triangular Cooperation: Experiences of Innovative Ecosystems for SSE Public Policies
  • SSE and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Networks, Business Development Services and Training
  • The Role of Government, Employers and Workers Organizations in shaping innovative ecosystems for SSE public policies
  • Social Innovation through SSE
  • SSE and Youth

 

Objectives;

The main objective of the SSE Academy will be to generate a better understanding of the concept of SSE and its possible contribution to social innovation in the world of work.

At the end of the academy, the participants will:

• Have a better understanding of innovative ecosystems for SSE Public Policies

• Have been acquainted with a multitude of social and solidarity experiences, strategies and tools from around the world, including examples of South-South and triangular cooperation.

• Have become part of a growing international network of policy makers and practitioners working on the SSE.