AmorePacific and Beautiful Foundation held the “Invitation of a Lifelong Friend” event at the AmorePacific Human Resources Development Center in Yongin, Seoul, Korea, on July 2, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of funds for “Heemang (Hope) Store,” a project to support the business startup of low-income, one-parent, female breadwinners. About 60 people participated in the event, including the founder of Heemang Store, representatives of the Beautiful Foundation, and Chairman and CEO Suh Kyung-bae of AmorePacific Group and its staff.
Heemang Store is a “microcredit” project of actively supporting the business startup of low-income, one-parent, female breadwinners to help them escape poverty through self-support and self-reliance. It is a project supported by AmorePacific and managed by the Beautiful Foundation. Heemang Store established its first store in 2004 after creating funds in 2003. It now has about 210 stores.
In particular, the “Beautiful World Fund,” which is used to fund Heemang Store, was prepared with the donations provided to Beautiful Foundation by the bereaved family of former chairman and founder of AmorePacific, the late Suh Sung-whan, who engaged in diverse social contribution activities for the welfare of women and children, with assets the family inherited from him. The founder and families of Heemang Store were invited to the event, held in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the fund’s creation, to share the sharing philosophy of Heemang Store and the achievements made in the last 10 years through the project. Furthermore, they visited the Story Garden inside AmorePacific Beauty Factory and the AmorePacific Museum of Art, in addition to having dinner and talk over tea with AmorePacific Group Chairman and CEO Suh Kyung-bae. “My deepest gratitude goes to everyone who worked hard for the successful management of Heemang Store in the last 10 years. I would first of all like to wish good health to the business starters of Heemang Store, who are the protagonists of the project. I will do my best so that Heemang Store would successfully continue for many more years,” Suh said.
Heemang Store is accepting applications from female breadwinners until August 22 for its support during the second half of 2014. Those wishing to get support can check information on how to submit their application on the Beautiful Foundation Web site (www.beautifulfund.org). Any low-income, one-parent, female breadwinner who raises children of under 25 years old as of the oldest child, and resides in the Seoul metropolitan area (Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, and Incheon), Busan (Gimhae and Yangsan), Daejeon (Cheonan and Cheongju), Daegu (Gumi and Pohang), Gwangju (Mokpo), and Wonju/Chuncheon, can apply. There is no need of collateral or guarantee and credit ratings are not considered. If selected for Heemang Store business startup upon evaluation of documents and interviews, a maximum of KRW 40 million in business startup funds (management funds of KRW 20 million and deposit for store lease of KRW 20 million) will be provided on condition of annual interest of 2% and repayment in seven years. In addition, business startup consulting, legal and tax consulting, emotional support program, training and product support, and other various follow-up support programs will be provided for actual self-reliance of Heemang Store business starters. The 2% annual interest rate, which has a symbolic meaning of practicing sharing, and the repayment made by successful Heemang Store business starters will be saved again as project funds to help other business starters of Heemang Store.
[Reference #1] Heemang Store achievements
Research and investigation results show that the average monthly income of Heemang Store business starters jumped by 2.5 times from KRW 980,000 before startup to KRW 2.53 million after startup. This is much higher than the average monthly income of general one-parent families of KRW 1.72 million presented by the Korean Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in 2013. Furthermore, those who received the Korean government’s basic living expenses support dropped by half from 22.6% before startup to 11.8% after startup. Those receiving conditional support from the government also dropped from 13.1% to 9.4%. The figures showed that not only did they become more economically stable, but they also enjoyed improved relations with their children and personal capacity through the project. In addition, the repayment rate of the Heemang Store was 81%, which is higher than general owner-run stores.
[Reference #2] Story of the 200th Heemang Store
The CEO of the 200th Heemang Store was Ho Nyeo Yun, who started the “Beautiful Sewing Factory” in Dongdaemun, Seoul, in November 2013. She opened a unique sewing factory with support from Heemang Store. Because the business startup was an opportunity gained when she had only KRW 148 left in her bank account, she says that it was the happiest moment in her life. She says that she also named her store “‘Beautiful Sewing Factory,’ because it is based on [her] own business startup philosophy that [she] has long dreamed of.” “It is my hope to always share a part of the profit that I make from my business to help the economic activity of others for their happy lives,” she continued. “It is my hope that Heemang Store would provide opportunities to many others to realize their dreams just as it helped me realize my earnest dream,” she added.