SK Group poised to support social enterprise fully
By Yoon Ja-young
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won has pledged to fully support a social enterprise dealing with economic polarization.
“Social enterprise is an effective solution for social problems. SK MRO should be a seed to spread this business model,” Chey said while visiting MRO Korea, the SK Group’s maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) business, Friday.
MRO firms purchases office goods and other necessary consumable items for business operations. They are usually guaranteed to be profitable as they handle deals for the numerous subsidiaries of conglomerates.
SK Group is scheduled to turn MRO Korea into a social enterprise next month, which will make it the biggest in the country.
“SK is turning MRO business into a social enterprise with the determination to lead efforts to solve social problems,” Chey said in a meeting with MRO Korea executives and employees.
He pointed out that social problems are increasing in the country. “While many people overseas envy Korea’s development, it is true that society has many problems such as economic polarization and a low birthrate. Though social enterprises can’t be a cure-all, they can be an effective alternative,” he said.
The chairman added that social enterprises should be equipped with not only social values but also corporate values based on competitiveness to continue its business. “It needs more than passion. Innovative ideas and entrepreneurial aspects are essential.”
The tycoon said that the group is determined to prop up MRO Korea to make it a top global player. “When the transition is completed, it will be one of the world-class social enterprises, as well as No.1 in Korea. The group will underpin it so that it can be an exemplary case in contributions to grapple with social problems.”
This transformation started last year amid controversies that MRO businesses are a symbol of greedy conglomerates never sharing the fruit of growth will small- and medium-sized firms.
Economic polarization between conglomerates and small companies over the past few years has sparked great concern, as the latter are increasingly failing to survive while some of Korea’s massive conglomerates have grown to gain world-class status.
The decision by SK Group to transform MRO Korea, which records over 100 billion won in annual sales, into a social enterprise was a surprise last year. It has been hiring people from underprivileged classes to fulfill their goals.