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Impact Square

Expert’s View: How to Assess a Social Enterprise?
Hi I am Hyun-myung Dho CEO of Impact Square. Impact Square is an Impact Business Accelerator. It was founded in 2010, and now, it is a ten-years old company. Simply, we are developing and helping the growth of impact businesses. For example, we support social ventures to go scale or we develops and share the value businesses for big corporations Especially, we are the specialists of social impact measurement, research and education, too. Lastly we make communities of social venture entrepreneurs, likes Seoul Forest Social Venture Cluster in Korea. We contributed on planning this cluster as well.
Impact Square has a mission to make impact businesses consumed more. I think the consumption is one of the most important decision making in everyday life. And I believe that this a little decision-making is the core driving factor to change our society. That’s the beginning of our story let’s consume more impact businesses However, there are two obstacles in front of us. First, as you know, some products or services of impact business cannot meet the enough level of quality for market. And in some areas of market, we cannot find any impact business or products. For example, there is no smartphone brand, and airline company for impact.
So, here is what we are doing. We’re going to improve impact businesses when it already doing their businesses here, or discover entrepreneurs that can be new players who will penetrate new market area. specifically the vision is to ignite more than 100 impact businesses by 2025
Impact Square is an intermediary, technically speaking. It is an accelerator, and professional consultancy firm in Impact Business ecosystem. And we have uniqueness that we have expertise of scientific approach. We always ask, why this solution cannot be done, how it can be done, and what type of innovative solution is needed. We study the relationship between creating social value and economic value. And we try to go beyond the traditional viewpoint of tradeoff. For that, we need to do social impact measurement. It creates the information, the base for we are able to do our scientific approach, better decisions and strategies.
Because we’re targeting social ventures in early stage, we fundamentally check the entrepreneurship growth. If this is not achieved, no other indicator has meaning. When we can move over the first point, entrepreneurship across we focus on confirmation for core assumptions, in market rather than revenue or profit numbers. just revenue where profit numbers are just following indicators not the leading ones we believe that.
first we check the social problem definition they want to resolve and measure the size of the problem they make to resolve. But we do not respond to every asking of social enterprises. so many social ventures are applying to us. but we love to work with just a small number of social ventures in same time. They, who we love to work with, have some common characteristics. They are trying to change the system not just some private lives or isolated problem in a small area. I know, it could be important for someone. But we want to focus on where we can do our best. So we keep the 100K rule for selecting impact business partners.
We check to see if the impact business can affect more than 100K individuals when it will grow up. It is our basis rule.
I think, the biggest thing is patience and persistence. The timing doesn’t come the way we want to have it, right? Especially, unlike normal ventures, there must be a timing given by society as well as a market. It could be different from the timing of market. Anyway, until then, we must deal with the problem persistently, create some conditions step by step, and struggle. Of course, this requires a strong mission orientation. It’s the reason, even though an entrepreneur has a great question for business, but there are so many cases that one gives up. One more thing, it is very difficult to build a good team. So, you need to invest on a lot of your resources on the building a good team.
It’s not just about networking. It’s about good leadership and great visioning that leads people. You have to find great people, you have to show your vision, you have to attract them, and then lead them. It’s so important.
frankly speaking I don’t want our businesses go bigger and bigger because it is not the best strategy for my dream. If we ignite 100 impact businesses in Asia, more than 10 million people will be affected by our ideas and passion. And of course, their life will change. That’s our dream. Personally, I want to have Asia headquarter office in Bali at Indonesia or Pyongyang at North Korea. it’s kind of a joke but it’s our dream to that’s all.
Yes, I have one. The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the last 10 years in this area is “ask for cooperation”. so now I am now I am asking you for collaboration who are to go beyond Korea were Asia to solve the social problems and innovate the world. I hope that we can discuss the opportunities at any time. Let me introduce more about our works, for your information. We accelerate a social venture, named 4EN. That company manufactures solid fuel, which is made from biomass such as coffee wastes, and now it becomes a rising star in the carbon credits business in Korea. And one more, there is another unique social venture named OHFA Tech. It is in our portfolio too.
It makes smart devices for braille education. It can be the solution for braille illiteracy crisis in the world. There are about 300million visually impaired and blind people and just only 5% of them can use braille. it’s the literacy crisis. most important reason is shortage of teachers. So, it can be a smart and kind teacher for them. okay that’s all please let me know if you want to work with us in any types of partnership. It’s Okay. Just tell me us. Thank you.
IMPACT SQUARE is a professional organization dedicated to ‘Impact Business’, conducting research with expertise about the mechanism between “Impact” and “Business” and implementing a variety of projects as practical businesses.

Since 2010, it has carried out a range of consulting and research projects with regard to CSR, CSV, NPO and International development, and Impact Evaluation. At the same time, it has deliberated on the growth of social ventures and collaborated with diverse social ventures in the form of business partnering or collocating, co-founding, operating and investing.

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