The voice of women are stronger than ever in South Korea. More women are economically active even in the sectors traditionally dominated by men such as construction, machinery and cutting edge semiconductor. The Korea Women Entrepreneurs Association is one of many women organizations that contributes to promoting women’s role in the society.
“It is our role to give support for women entrepreneurs to grow their business through various down to earth support programs. It is also our role to build a good business environment for them in our society.” says Sangsoon Park, Head of the Korea Women Entrepreneurs Association in South Gyeongsang Province.
This provincial branch set sail in 1999 to protect rights and interests of women entrepreneurs in the region. The branch holds a number of supportive events and programs on a regular basis. Meetings take place monthly to hear proposals and opinions. Training and AMP (Advanced Management Program) for women CEOs take place alongside seminars, startup competitions and startup funding events time to time. Field trips are also arranged for female college students.
|▲ Korea Women Entrepreneurs Association Gyeongnam / Head Sangsoon Park (CEO of Dongwonyuji and Jangsan Environment)|
“Women are no longer an extra work force or those who take supportive roles in their works. Rather, they are as important an asset as men in economic activities. More and more women are in high positions of a company or run their own companies nowadays and it is time for us all to remove the prejudice.”
Apart from the monthly meeting, director’s meeting and year end meeting are also taken place to share fruits of their activities including projects commissioned by the province. The current 150 members of the association are from CEOs of corporations to small companies and self-employed in various sectors. They share their expertise in the field, exchange ideas and information and work together to promote their business and activities.
20 years ago, Park took over an animal fats and oils company and doubled the yearly 3 billion ($2.3 million USD) sales within a year. When she visited a bank to borrow the shortage of buyout, the bank did not even look the documents because she was a woman especially regarding the kind of company she wish to take over. So she proved herself how capable she was by this earning surprise.
“Despite women entrepreneurs are legally supported by the Act on Support for Women’s Enterprises, I has observed that it is not applied or practiced in reality. So it is the job of the association to make more people know about the act and make it into real in everyday workplace.”
Park is the 83rd member of the Honor Society (more than 100 million won ($78,000) donation needed) and is serving various roles in various provincial committees alongside the head of the association and CEO of her own companies. <PowerKorea>
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