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Social Change Through Social Enterprise: Seoul Declaration

00752 sewf Social enterprises are leaders in creating new social value. They recognize the creative entrepreneurial spirit and the opportunities to achieve their goals using successful business models. The range of products and services available from social enterprises is rapidly expanding and evolving. Social enterprises are playing increasing roles in fighting poverty, providing health care, education services, promoting culture, protecting the natural environment, and a host of other factors that contribute to a higher quality of life.

Social enterprises are emerging as creative solutions for building a people-centered economy. They continue to play a key role as new alternatives to social problems, such as unemployment and social exclusion. Social enterprises are widely recognized as pioneers of new social value, in advanced economies and developing ones alike. They are valued as alternative producers of economic value capable of promoting balanced economic development.

The Seventh Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF), an international event celebrating the strides and triumphs of social enterprises, was held for the first time in Asia in Seoul for three days starting on October 14, 2014. The event brought together social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, experts, and representatives of social economy organizations from around the world, fostering greater exchange and cooperation and the development of social economies worldwide. Held under the overarching theme of “Social Change through Social Enterprises,” this year’s SEWF featured in-depth debates on social innovation, social inclusion, and social investment, prompting participants to search for new social solutions to international problems, including unemployment, social conflicts, and the need for sustainable and mutual prosperity.

A major consensus deriving from this year’s SEWF is that social enterprises are experiencing rapid growth and continue to emerging worldwide. Social enterprises are facing a watershed moment in their evolution as a major catalyst in creating an alternative and social economy.

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Upholding our faith in social change through social enterprises, we, the participants in this year’s SEWF, would like to make six committments about the future role to be played by various forces and segments of society for the development of social enterprises, and declare our resolutions to that end.

Firstly, we affirm that the seventh SEWF has been a substantial opportunity for exploring new solutions to unemployment, social conflicts, addressing the need for sustainable and mutual prosperity, and social innovation worldwide. The SEWF actively encouraged in-depth discussions on social innovation, social inclusion, and social investment for social change through social enterprises. We hereby pledge to make active efforts in the future to help social enterprises make positive changes to society and our local communities.

Secondly, we recognize social enterprises need to secure greater means for planning, development and growth. We hereby pledge to actively seek effective support measures and raise the public awareness of this matter.

Thirdly, recognizing that, according to the principle of solidarity, social enterprises need to develop a healthy network and actively engage with governments, private businesses and public organizations in order to enhance their competitiveness, we hereby pledge to make active efforts to that end.

Fourthly, aware of the importance of government investment and support for the development of ecosystems and institutional infrastructure for the autonomy, creativity, and sustainable growth of social enterprises, we hereby pledge to make active efforts to that end.

Fifthly, acknowledging the need to establish active relationships with diverse social enterprise partners to form a social consensus on the roles and development of social enterprises, we hereby pledge to make active efforts to that end.

Sixthly, agreeing on the need to enhance social enterprises’ roles in the discussion and consultation on international cooperation and exchange focused specifically on social enterprise, we pledge to work with the Social Enterprise World Forum to establish the support and means to achieve successful exchanges and networks.