Social Impact Startups in Korea That You Ought To Know

Social Impact Startups in Korea That You Ought To Know

Lately, investors are not only concerned about making money. A number of them have already made all the money they could need and therefore, are looking to generate social and environmental value. Korea’s impact investing sector is developing, and there are several Korean VC firms and impact investors focusing on social ventures that can change the world.

Social impact startups bring positive social and environmental impact while generating potential financial returns. Therefore, social impact entities can be in industries like education, clean energy, health, affordable housing, among others. As startups in Korea tend to look into overgrowing and generate immediate profits, social impact startups in Korea do not focus on financial gain only. Their main intentions lie on acting charitably and having a positive impact.

Several social impact entities in Korea are working in the fields of social innovation, social entrepreneurship and social change. These startups are focused on doing good deeds and coming up with new techniques, concepts and ideas to meet social needs. Therefore, here are some of the top ten social impact startups in Korea, their rankings comprised by the Seoulz staff based on four factors; market opportunity, growth potential/scalability, funding and the innovation of service or product.

The first Korean social impact entity is DOT, the creator of Dot Watch, a digital smart braille watch. More than 400 million people globally cannot read a watch face. Dot Watch uses braille, having their dots rise and fall to spell out braille words four characters at a time. Besides, it gives real-time updates from whichever device it is connected to; therefore, users can receive emails, social media alerts and texts instantly.

It can also display the time and date, has a stopwatch, a timer, an alarm and even some braille technology. Also, the Dot Watch Braille learning program is an accessible intuitive and entertaining mode of learning and practice of the Braille letters and words.



German Startups That Can Withstand the Coronavirus Setbacks

German Startups That Can Withstand the Coronavirus Setbacks

Germany has known to have one of the most vital startup scenes in Europe. According to the annual research on startup cities, Berlin is Europe’s second-biggest startup hub just behind London. Recently, Thomas Ohr took a closer look at the German startup landscape to introduce people to ten of the most promising early-stage startups that will not only survive the Coronavirus but also continue to thrive.

Due to the ever-growing amount of exciting startups in Germany, it has been a challenge to narrow down the list to only ten candidates. However, Ohr said that they managed to do so. All the companies presented entered the market within the last three years, and all of them have a bright future ahead.

CoachHub, which was founded in 2018, is the mobile coaching cloud that allows personalized coaching for workers of all career levels. An array of top coaches from all around the world and the applications available for access to the internet and smartphones provide live coaching sessions via video conferencing.

Through this, the Berlin-based startup prepares managers for better leadership, groups for better team performance and employees for personal and professional growth. The startup team already counts about 150 people and has already risen over €18.9 million in venture capital.

Wandlebots is a Dresden-based entity that is democratizing industrial robotics by allowing everyone to programme any robot through smart input devices and example-based teaching. The startup was founded in 2017; a software backend tracks human motion to live-control industrial machines. Operators can teach automation tasks through demonstrations.

The software has a machine learning model based on many demonstrations and generates automation workflows. As of 2018 December, Wandelbots raised €6 million from Pau Ventures and EQT Ventures together with participation from investors such as entrepreneur Felix Haas, Atlantic Labs and SAP manager Christian Dahlen.



BSEP Trains 16 Female Entrepreneurs to Practice Social Entrepreneurship

BSEP Trains 16 Female Entrepreneurs to Practice Social Entrepreneurship

The future of social entrepreneurship gets aid as 16 UAE-based female entrepreneurs have recently graduated from the Badiri Education and Development Academy. Badiri is the education and capacity development arm of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment based in Sharjah. They now begin their journey to developing purpose-driven startups.

The ambitious entrepreneurs were taught at the second edition of the academy’s Badiri Social Entrepreneurship Program (BSEP), a strict ten-month course held in collaboration with the UK-based School for Social Enterprises. The BSEP curriculum allows participants to develop skillsets in business leadership and teaches them to turn their ideas to successful projects and startups which are scalable and creates positive social impact.

The graduation ceremony took place on January 28th at the Executive Office of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, the wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and the chairperson of NAMA concluding with each participant presenting their business projects to the audience.

Some of the participants include; Muna Alnahdi, creator of The Education Project, and affordable learning platform that connects educators and learners; Khadija Al Jabari, creator of PlayMaker, a consultancy firm focusing on changing society’s perception on topics considered as stigma and; Abeer Mohamed, creator of the LYTE Wellness Studio that aims to provide a supportive environment for new mothers.

The Director of Nama, H.E Reem BinKaram commented on the impact of the program and said, through challenging the status quo and embracing social entrepreneurship as a profession, their 16 graduates are taking their commitment and passion to a new level. H.E BinKaram added that the intense, practical learning experience they received at the UK and India branches of SSE have fully enabled them to align their business interests with social purposes.

She also said that they are valuable contributions to the economy and society will contribute to NAMA and Badiri’s efforts to achieve the vision of Her Highness Sheikha, Chairperson of NAMA to empower women in the UAE and the broader Arab region, economically and socially.



Abu Dhabi’s New Innovation Hub Promises Tt Boost Social Entrepreneurship

Abu Dhabi’s New Innovation Hub Promises Tt Boost Social Entrepreneurship

Abu Dhabi now has a new social innovation hub purposefully for redefining what charity means in the UAE. Going by the name, The Exchange, the space at the Yas Mall has been developed to help create a new breed of nonprofits focused on addressing social challenges sustainably.

Workshops, a series of expert speakers and tailor-made support teams for growing entrepreneurs will also be on hand. The developer of the concept, the Authority of Social Contribution, Ma’sn opened the space recently with the hopes of the project, encouraging more focus on community cohesion.

According to Salama Al Ameemi, the director-general of the Authority of Social Contribution, at Ma’an, they are trying to change the social impact ecosystem from one-time charity offerings to a sustainable philanthropy approach. Salama added that she hoped people would pay a visit to The Exchange and learn more of how they can direct their visions and passion into the projects that can foster a lasting, positive change in the community.

The Abu Dhabi government formed Ma’an in February 2019 with the intentions of strengthening collaboration between private and public sectors together with the civil society. It wishes to promote a responsible third sector whereby nonprofit associations can contribute to the building of connected local communities.

Presently, in the Emirates, there is debatably a notable absence of smaller-scale nonprofits created by civil society. Instead, larger charitable foundations like the Emiraws Red Crescent, which has close relations o the government, tend to be the norm.   However, Ma’an has said that it sees the value in smaller nonprofits and that it wants to help breakdown existing legal and licensing obstacles to help them flourish.

Ma’an’s Social Incubator Programme that is featured highly in The Exchange focuses on the sustainability of nonprofits through the provision of guidance on the best practices in business.



Rising Trend: Social Responsibility is High on Millennials’ List

Rising Trend: Social Responsibility is High on Millennials’ List

Today, more than one third of the gainfully employed in the US is between 20 and 36 years old. By 2025, Millennials will represent a massive 75% of the American workforce. They have significant purchasing power.

Companies that support causes are gaining traction with the Millennial customer. But, social responsibility is not just about what they buy. A study from the Stanford Graduate School of Business revealed that 90% of MBAs from business schools in Europe and North America prefer working for organizations committed to social responsibility. Ethics and integrity, it seems, win out over financial reward.

Millennials are highly gadget connected. They have direct access to global problems, like finite resources, human rights, gender inequality and climate change. They’re also quick to share what they care about through social media platforms.

While larger companies and multinationals are catching on to the importance of social responsibility, a new type of business is gaining market share. Small online stores with a specific purpose to do good. Take Bottle 4 Bottle, an Australian family-owned business that invites customers to shop for a cause. Each time they sell a bottle of lotion or spray tan solution, they donate a bottle of premium formula to an orphaned or abandoned child in need.

Millennials support companies that do good, making social entrepreneurship a smart business model to follow. 70% of millennials are willing to pay more for a product that makes an impact on issues they care about.

We’re talking about young men and women with spending power estimated at $2.45 trillion! So, social responsibility should be a top priority for all companies that target this market segment.


Social Enterprises around the World

Social Enterprises around the World

Aiming to generate income if not wealth, the social enterprise comes up with innovative and people-friendly solutions to bring a positive change in the society. This aim distinguishes them from the corporate world: they work for the people who live below poverty line. This concept has existed from 1960s and is promoted by many individuals. The establishment of The Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, under the leadership of Muhammad Yunus was the first instance where the concept was thoroughly used, which addressed address the issue of people living below poverty line and gradually thus evolving as a strong identity.

For example, Founded by Jeff Skoll, the first president of ebay, the Skoll Foundation supports the social enterprises and highlights their work by establishing their partnerships with Sundance Institute and NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.  Based in New York, Echoing Green is another non-profit organization that operates in social sector investing.

Also, there is Rang De which is a not profit online organization but lends small loans to individuals planning to start a new or grow their existing business. It is a successful attempt to bring together the two parts of India one of which is successfully progressing while one is left out due to shortage of resources.

Then Schwab foundation was founded by Professor Klaus Schwab and his wife, with an aim to promote social innovation. The foundation majorly addresses social problems and provides platforms at the country, global and regional levels.

Lastly is the Omidyar Network established in 2004, which fosters economic advancement. With a network of for-profit companies, the network encourages participation in the areas of government transparency, microfinance, social media and property rights.



Social Entrepreneurship at its best – Microfinance and the Revolution in the Third World

Social Entrepreneurship at its best – Microfinance and the Revolution in the Third World

Just recently, the rise of microfinance or microcredit has been a prominent revolution. There has been however been a challenge of financial access to banks and financial institutions. As a result microcredit revolution has been pioneered by the Nobel Laureate and Bangladeshi entrepreneur, Mohammed Yunus who with his Grameen Bank ensured that those at the “Bottom of the Pyramid” have access to credit in a manner that is easy, without red tape, and on terms that are congenial and favorable to the borrowers.

Traditionally, governments were unable to find resources especially in the Third World which they could channelize to the small entrepreneurs as well as had to face resistance from established banks and financial institutions who pointed to the abysmal record of repayment. Microcredit ensures that they are making loans to a pool of borrowers instead of individuals alone. Moreover, microcredit agencies also make it a point to lend for shorter durations as well as encourage repayment by educating and enlightening the borrowers of the advantages of credit repayment and further access to funding.

Having said that, it is not the case that microcredit has been an unqualified success all over the Third World. For example, in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, there has been a spate of failures of reputed microcredit agencies wherein because of mismanagement, fraud, and over stretching their limits to force the borrowers to repay, these agencies ran afoul of the regulators leading to a full blown crisis in this sector.

Nevertheless, microcredit has indeed ushered in a revolution among the poor and the underprivileged in many Third World countries. Experts suggest broadening the base of borrowers base, and enhancing the skills of the small entrepreneurs to make the process becomes scalable, repeatable, and improves with each iteration.