SK expands ‘mutual growth fund‘ for SMEs
By Lee Hyo-sik
SK Group, the country’s third largest conglomerate, has expanded the size of a ``mutual growth fund’’ to lend greater financial help to its smaller business partners.
The group created the fund capitalized at 150 billion won in 2010. This year, it has decided to enlarge it to 321 billion won. Between 2010 and 2011, more than 400 small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that supply various industrial goods and parts have received loans from the conglomerate.
SK also plans to establish an additional 100-billion-won fund in cooperation with state-run financial service companies to help its subcontractors expand production facilities and engage in more research and development activities.
``We have been sharing the fruits of our growth with smaller business partners over the years by providing them with necessary resources,’’ a SK Group spokesman said. ``Not only financial support, we have been offering them management consulting and technical assistance.’’
The business group has been operating an ``SK Mutual Growth Academy’’ since 2006 for employees and executives of its subcontractors.
``So far, more than 70,000 individuals have taken our diverse courses. We have just begun offering the management development program for manager-level employees,’’ the spokesman said. ``Under the program, 120 workers of our business partners will be sent to China every year and learn about marketing and other business subjects concerning the Chinese market.’’
SK said it is extending technical assistance to small companies. It plans to set up a technical aid center for subcontractors engaging in the information and technology sector.
The group also allows small firms to use its patents for free to help them hone their technological competitiveness and develop innovative products.