This past July, the first Angel Workshop, Coiro, opened on the illegal cover-up cafe street in Seongnae-dong. While walking by and gathering around the café, local residents voiced in unison that they “welcome a change like this”. Gangdong-gu Office and local residents alike have been troubled by the issue of illegal cover-up stores in operation with signs as ordinary restaurants near Seongnae Library and schools; however, with the opening of the first Angel Workshop, the repair and improvement of the street have now started.
Gangdong-gu regularly met with owners of the buildings that house these cover-up cafes and convinced them to eventually secure additional spaces for No. 2 and 3 of Angel Workshops. Aiming to hand over the management to young owners in early September, all necessary steps are being taken one by one, from recruiting workshops, review and selection to remodeling of spaces. Angel Workshop No. 2 and 3 will be systematically supported with security deposits for the rental, 50% of the monthly rent for the first year, remodeling tailored to specific industries and step-by-step guidance in the course of their development.
These youth workshops, named “Angel Workshops”, are one of the social economy brands that Gangdong-gu has created to support corporate establishment for the youths who possess technical skills and passion but lack the funding.
The effects of Angel Workshops do not just stop at improving the local environment. In cooperation with Hongs Bang (Coiro Co., Ltd.), a local business, and Dongbu Seoul Women‘s Development Center, Gangdong-gu provides free education for the younger generation through a curriculum including theory and practice of leather crafts, product manufacturing and field trips.
Through resume review and interviews, those with the greatest desire to found their own businesses are selected to receive not only education on leather crafts but also co-op entrepreneurship mentoring, which lead to the creation of jobs for young people.
Meanwhile, at the “2016 Nationwide Local Government Directors’ Contest of Outstanding Examples of Manifesto”, Gangdong-gu received the grand prize in the socioeconomic category for its outstanding implementation of “Angel Zones and Angel Shops”, spaces provided by local residents at no cost to help vitalize corporate foundation activities of the youths and learning communities, and “Angel Workshop Street”, which transform illegal cover-up stores near Seongnae Library into workshops being operated by young craftsmen.