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BTS' RM's backpack maker ends fundraising in success By Park Jae-hyuk | see article here CONTINEW, a social enterprise known as the maker of BTS’ RM’s backpack, has successfully completed a crowdfunding event, according to SK Innovation, one of the startup’s sponsors, Sunday. The company which makes bags and wallets using waste materials from cars raised 43.4 million won ($40,000) within 40 days, 14 times more than its initial goal. Its products have been in the spotlight, since BTS leader RM posted a photo of himself carrying the company’s backpack during his trip to Europe with his family on his social media. Other Korean entertainers, such as Kim Saeng-min and Kang Ho-dong, also carried the social enterprise’s bags in their TV shows, so the products have been regarded as the items symbolizing celebrities’ ethical consumption. Plus, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won displayed a CONTINEW backpack to emphasize the importance of social value, during the Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum at Yonsei University in Seoul last month, which was attended by former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma. Chey mentioned CONTINEW as a successful model for social enterprises. Internet users, who participated in the fundraising event, received card cases, women’s wallets, shopper bags, messenger bags and backpacks made by CONTINEW, depending on the amount of their donations. Last October, the company raised $10,000 in 14 hours as well, after registering one of its bags on Kickstarter, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. Established in 2015, CONTINEW has achieved remarkable growth with support from the domestic conglomerates, including SK Innovation, LG and Kia Motors. According to CONTINEW, about a half of the company’s employees are North Korean defectors and South Korean women who had lost their jobs after pregnancies and childbirth.