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Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Community, SE Column | 0 comments

Ulsan City: Various Ideas on Community-based Enterprises

Ulsan City: Various Ideas on Community-based Enterprises

Using broiled eels, a chauffeur service, a book café and traditional Korean taffy to activate local communities

“Our community is now full of vitality thanks to the broiled sea eel restaurant.” The residents of Jejeon, a small fishing village in Buk-gu, Ulsan city, are pleased whenever they pass by the community center. The center, which is more than 20 years old, was transformed from an old, abandoned place into a hopeful restaurant named Saranggil Jejeon Eel in July of 2011. The restaurant is run by six members of the fishing village fraternity who are able to work. The restaurant became the specialty of this village and was selected as one of the final 16 enterprises, out of 560 around the nation, in the ‘Excellent Community-based Enterprise Evaluation’ competition, hosted by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security in 2011.

Jejeon used to be a fairly big village. It once flourished with rich marine products such as abalone and eel, but it has been on the decline as the young avoid working at the sea and leave to the city, with only 160 older people still living in the village.

 

There used to have rows of cart bars selling broiled eels around the village in the 1980s, when the popularity of broiled eels rose suddenly, but a dispute among cart bar owners over who would get certain advatageous locations brought civil complaints, ending up in the decline of the eel catching industry.

However, the opportunity came again when the federal and local governments started to support a community-based enterprise project in 2010.

This project aims to create both income and jobs for local residents by utilizing local resources. The project was designed as an alternative solution to create new jobs after the financial crisis in Korea.

Jejeon village received a grant of 50 million won (50,000 USD) from the local government, using it to renovate the first and second floor of the community center into a place that can receive 40 to 50 customers at one time. Also, local residents, including the head of the fishing village fraternity, 58-year-old Kim Myung-Chan,  actively searched for methods of running the restaurant successfully. As a result of this endeavor and enthusiasm, the restaurant is now reaching an average daily sales revenue of 1.5 million won (1,500 USD) and becoming a national benchmark for this type of endeavor.

With a feeling of expectancy toward community-based enterprises after the success of Jejeon village, there are creative and interesting ideas coming into full bloom all over Ulsan city.

The Treasure Box in Our Village is the second community-based enterprise in Buk-gu, established in October of 2011. The enterprise first started when 15 housewives formed a recycling project team to refurbish and sell second-hand products such as clothes, bags and purses. The enterprise now even provides education programs on recycling, such as fashion painting and flower art.

Three other projects nominated as community-based enterprises of the year in Buk-gu are also very interesting. The Gangdong Business Area Revitalizing Team, consisting of 200 restaurant owners, plans to provide a chauffeur service at 60% of the current price to revitalize local business.

In addition, Jung-gu recently created a judging committee to select community-based enterprises and has selected two projects as new community-based enterprises. One of these projects is the Woesol Family’s Traditional Byung-young Rice Taffy, making and selling the traditional taffy of the Byung-young area where the spirit of Woesol Choi Hyun-bae is embodied. The other is the Dangjanggol Book Café, turning the local government’s office lobby into a book café.

Dong-gu also nominated three projects as candidates. The Wakjajigeol Sambakgol Workshop plans to gain a profit through selling pieces made by Seogak members, and operating an experience program. The Yeompo MountainㆍMyungdeok Reservoir Pony Riding Experience is run by the Jeonha2-dong residents’ association, and The Women with Good Skills is a café selling craft works made by the the Chatters, which is the group of people who have completed coursework at the Dong-gu Women’s Education Center.

Business expenses are granted to each community-based enterprise in the amount of up to 50 million won (50,000 USD) in the first year and 30 million won (30,000 USD) in the second year. Appropriate training and business consulting are offered as well.

LEE Sang-Ui, an officer of the Buk-gu Residents Participation Department said, ‘The project helps restore and revitalize communities by having local residents put their heads together and search for self-reliant businesses.’

 

[Original Article_ Hankook ilbo _ 2012.02.14]

Translated: by Kyoung-ah Jang Edited: by Patrick Ferraro

Edited: by Patrick Ferraro

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