SOUTH KOREA. Lotte Duty Free has pledged to invest KRW500 million (US$440,000) to encourage young entrepreneurs to develop tourism businesses in Busan. The ‘Lotte accelerator’ project will help promote regional tourism and create jobs, said the retailer this week. It is open to business owners under the age of 39.

The scheme represents a new model of social contribution, claimed Lotte Duty Free. Ten companies will be recruited by 5 April, with Lotte Duty Free teams screening them via business documentation and interviews.

The retailer will lend support through business expenses, one-to-one mentoring and advice on business development. Practical help will include education on management, accounting and tax. Even after the scheme ends, candidates can attract additional investment to support their medium to long-term growth, said Lotte Duty Free.

A poster marketing the Lotte Duty Free programme of support for youth-led tourism enterprises in Busan.

The retailer noted that its activities had been focused heavily on the Seoul metropolitan area, so this programme turned attention to Busan, which has lacked support for local youth business, it said. The programme will also be extended to Jeju.

In a statement, the company said: “This project is expected to increase the tourism industry in Busan and create synergy effects by using the resources of Lotte Duty Free Shop. Lotte Duty Free’s vision is to lead the tourism industry in Korea. We will build a differentiated regional win-win model that will lead to medium and long-term social change.”