President Moon Jae-in said Friday his liberal administration will redouble efforts to boost the "social economy" sector to create jobs and support the underprivileged.
He was addressing the opening ceremony of the second Social Economy Fair. This year's event opened in Daejeon, some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, for a three-day run.
Since taking office in May 2017, Moon, a former human rights lawyer, has campaigned for the development of a social economy in South Korea, which struggles to resolve the problem of income and wealth inequality. Inclusive growth is a motto of his government.
Moon pointed out that the social economy is a "key pillar" of his administration's "people-oriented economy" and "inclusive state" vision.
"First, (the government) will expand the growth infrastructure of the social economy," he said.
Within this year, he added, the government plans to create a "social economy innovation town" in the southern cities of Gunsan and Changwon, respectively, for trial operation.
Financial support will be expanded as well.
The volume of policy financing for social economy programs totaled 193.7 billion won ($165.4 million) in 2018, far exceeding the target amount of 100 billion won.
"(The government) will increase this year's policy financing support by 67 percent to 323 billion won from last year," Moon said.
He also called on the National Assembly to pass three long-pending bills on promoting the social economy.
The previous fair on the social economy took place in Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, last year.
Participants include representatives from social enterprises, cooperatives and community institutions.
The social economy creates social value through economic activities based on communities and voluntary institutions, largely cooperatives, enterprises, shops, non-profit associations and foundations that provide a wide range of goods and services with a focus on helping those in need and contributing to society instead of maximizing profits.
A total of 24,893 social economy enterprises were operating in the country as of the end of 2018, with 255,541 people employed, Cheong Wa Dae said. More than 60 percent of the employees were underprivileged. (Yonhap)