Social enterprise, a new type of social service agency in Korea, has rapidly emerged in recent years. A social enterprise ecosystem is defined as including both support structures that can develop social enterprises, and a cluster value network between various stakeholders. On this basis, a social enterprise ecosystem can be seen to have two main divisions; capital infrastructure, and the socio‐economic and cultural environment. The capital infrastructure provides the resources, including social, political, human, financial, and intellectual capital, that are essential to the success of social enterprise. The socio‐economic and cultural environment produces the conditions in which social enterprises and their capital providers operate. This environment includes, but is not limited to social enterprise policy, media relations, and economic and social conditions.
The findings have the following implications. To promote the capital infrastructure, it is necessary to consider the issues of education and training, while building financial capital for social enterprises requires the establishment of both financial support and capital market systems. Policy support is required in order to create a positive perception about social enterprise among citizens, and to establish spaces in which to nurture social enterprise (including free rental space). In addition, a further policy challenge involves the creation of a platform for the active participation of social entrepreneurs, funders, researchers, and ethical consumers. Generally, the challenge for policies relating to social enterprise is to build governance structures and to activate government assistance polices. In order to do this, there is a need to build a consistent support system involving the central government, metropolitan councils, and primary local authorities. At the same time, social enterprise policies should be developed by promoting the social enterprise cooperation town and cluster, and by finding a public purchasing and social service market. Ultimately, finding a way to activate the social enterprise ecosystem has significant political implications for the development of social enterprise.