[Sponsored Report] AmorePacific supports female entrepreneurs

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[Sponsored Report] AmorePacific supports female entrepreneurs


The CEO of the 286th Hope Store, Jang Su-jin, who started a restaurant in Daejeon with funds from the Hope Store program, wants to repay the program by sharing her business experience and expertise with others. [AMOREPACIFIC]

Hope Stores are a chain of micro-credit-funded stores which are supported by AmorePacific, the nation’s top cosmetic company, and managed by the Beautiful World Fund of the Beautiful Foundation. It was established in 2003 by the family of the company founder Suh Sung-whan to provide economic security for female breadwinners and their families. The initial funds of the Hope Stores program was donated in the memory of Suh Sung-whan, the founder of AmorePacific. The bereaved family of Suh created the Beautiful Fund to commemorate his dedication for the empowerment of single women and their children and his belief in returning wealth back to society.

This social contribution program symbolizes hope to many as it provides start-up loans to wannabe entrepreneurs who lack opportunities to realize their ambitions. Through this program, low-income single mothers are given necessary business startup funds to start their own businesses and support their families. Therefore, this program offers not just short-term economic help, but it lays a foundation for single women to become self-reliant and support their children.

The Hope Store program strives to reach as many underprivileged women as possible. It does not require a credit check or guarantee, and any single mother can be a recipient of the startup fund. With strong support from this micro-credit program, a series of stores have opened, including a food-service business, a hair salon, taxi car enterprises, recycling services, a soap maker and a car wash business. Participants can start businesses in any field they have a talent in as long as they have a specific business plan in mind.

The first store in the Hope Store program was opened in 2004, and the number of Hope Stores exceeded 200 in 2013. Currently, three hundred such operations are opened nationwide.

Recipients of the startup funds shared how their lives were transformed after they took charge of their business startups. First, the CEO of the 286th Hope Store, Jang Su-jin was able to follow her passion for cooking and achieve a lifetime goal she had long dreamed of. She stresses that the education, training and counseling the program provides equipped her with the necessary skills and expertise to navigate the difficulties she faced. For example, she says when she needed to address complex steps that involved taking care of interior design, analyzing environment and external circumstances, and choosing suppliers for her restaurant when opening a store, she felt fully prepared.

The CEO of another store, Lee Min-jung, also says she is thankful for the financial support, consulting services and follow-up management services the program provides. Having grown a small florist shop into a recognized accessory store in her area, she believes that it is now her turn to spread hope to other single mothers across Korea so they can realize their dreams and gain economic independence too. She tries to spread this philanthropic and beneficiary program to help more people become aware of this program and get assistance.

The Hope Store program is hoping to fund more single mothers struggling with financial difficulty. A total number of 843 single mothers and their families have received help from this program. The benefits include legal, financial and family counseling, technical training in addition to startup funds. The store owners are maintaining their businesses and making profits despite the slowing economy, and the loan repayment rate surpasses 80 percent, which indicates that their businesses are being well managed.

According to the recipients, the business startup consulting, legal and tax consulting, emotional support program, training and product support, and various other support programs organized by Amorepacific’s Beautiful World have proved to be of practical use to new business owners as they to navigate through difficulties when managing businesses and have helped them to achieve self-reliance.

Applicants eligible to apply for this program includes any household of two making less than 1.97 million won ($1,734) and households of three making less than 2.54 million won. Any single mothers raising children under 25 with a specific business plan can apply for the program. The application period starts on August 7th and ends September 8th. Applicants can download an application form at www.beautifulfund.org and send the application through the mail.

BY LEE CHAE-WON [lee.chaewon@joongang.co.kr]
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