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Aiding to Restore the Lives of the Homeless

Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) and Merry Year Social Company ( MYSC) have launched their USD 1 million Digital Transformation Fund in 2021 with the help of, Google’s charity arm. The Fund will support non-profit organizations operating in South Korea to support underserved communities, including small and medium-sized business owners and job seekers affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. In 2022 five subgrantees were chosen to receive the grant, as well AVPN and MYSC have launched an impact series in which they tell the stories of these subgrantees. In this first article we were able to talk with Byung Hun Hyung Chul and Hyun Seok, who are from Big Issue to understand how they can help improve life for the homeless communities in South Korea through their innovative initiatives. Big Issue is a street newspaper and social enterprise that works with homeless people, offering them a source of income and a route to reintegration into society.

 Big Issue is a social enterprise and a non-profit public benefit company that works with the community to build a world in which no one has to be homeless and everyone is guaranteed housing rights. Big Issue is a magazine for people experiencing homelessness. Big Issue is a street magazine that provides homeless people the chance to earn a living and aids them in their reintegration into society. Many people associate us with “the magazine that helps the homeless get back on their feet,” however, the services we offer are more complicated than that. The goal is to help them be able to live their lives independently as a part of society. The future is bright for Big Issue. Big Issue is looking to contribute to solving the root of housing insecurity.


It is believed that the AR service is being developed and will be launched when the app is launched. The aim is to offer the experience of a human being for people experiencing homelessness using digital technology, like reading the handwritten notes of vendors. We are striving to get this system up and running, hoping to roll out the service in stages.

Hyun Seok holds an example of the “paper moneybox, which promotes the application.

Hyung Chul As coordinator,, I will promote this business opportunity to the suppliers. It is crucial to explain the advantages of this business model and inspire them to participate in the new ideas. The publishers will appreciate the benefits of growing the number of readers after they can sell the magazine via the app.

Hyun Seok This app, and the cashbox, could be an excellent conversation starter in a meeting in the street. Many will stop to listen. To vendors, the help received, and conversations with readers, are sources of power. Big Issue and I, Big Issue, and myself would like to continue to grow to offer vendors more opportunities.

What are you hoping to achieve from this endeavor?

Byung hun: A social business, its goal is to improve sustainability. As an organization, I want to improve the lives of homeless people and build an environment where everybody has access to rights to housing. I want to increase the possibilities of these people by communicating more frequently with people via the app.

Since digital transformation is a crucial requirement to address the Big Issue, a project such as this could be a possibility even without assistance from the Digital Transformation Fund. With the Fund, it was easier to gain momentum, make the necessary changes and make a bold investment to create an app based on blockchain technology, produce goods, and create working experience models related to the app’s promotion.

Furthermore, from the time Big Issue was founded, it was the first time we had the pleasure of the flexibility of our funding. This Fund has allowed us to use our budget. This was well when we were evaluating and determining the various options for the project. We initially employed our imagination in planning an online company that would suit our circumstances. Therefore there were a lot of changes during the growth of the business. Some situations were hard to anticipate, for instance, the unanticipated necessity to change the budget. However, it was a good choice due to the freedom regarding budgeting. The cost of labor is bound to be one of the most significant burdens for any company, but we were able to compensate for this.


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Jane S. King

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