South Korea’s K-Startup Grand Challenge (KSGC), with support from the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) and National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA), is currently accepting applications from global entrepreneurs and startups until June 25, 2020.
K-Startup Grand Challenge is an accelerator program hosted and financed by the South Korean government. The program promotes Korea as a leading global startup business hub that aims to support foreign entrepreneurs and startups that wish to enter the Korean market.
KSGC is an all-expense-paid program with the best team winning 147 million won ($120,000). The top five teams and other qualified teams would also get further assistance from the South Korean government for three and a half months.
The Selection Process
An expert panel of judges would select 60 teams to participate in the accelerator program that would last from September 1, 2020, to November 30, 2020. From the pool of teams, 30 participants would be selected to attend a demonstration day from November 19-21, 2020.
Who Can Apply?
- Application is available for startups less than seven years old or pre-entrepreneurs whose representative holds a foreign nationality or is a foreign compatriot.
- Promising startups with a clear objective to expand into Asia to use the Korean market as a stepping-stone.
- Startups with interests in Artificial Intelligence, Big-Data, Cloud computing, Networking, IoT, Robotics, Auto Tech, VR/AR/MR, Smart city, Health, Semiconductor, Green, 3D printing, Blockchain, Fintech, Information Security, e-commerce, O2O, Logistics, Media, etc. are encouraged to apply.
Benefits for the Startups
Networking and Expert Support
The three-month acceleration program fully supports 60 teams, giving access to one-on-one mentoring, Korean and Asian business culture coaching, information sessions, seminars on topics such as patents, tax laws, accounting regulations, etc. Candidates would also have meet-and-greet sessions and opportunities with large Korean conglomerates looking to collaborate with startups.
Living expenses. All 60 selected teams would receive 12.25 million won ($10,840) for a one-person team, and 17.5 million won ($15,490) for two-person. This would cover the teams’ living expenses for over 3.5 months, starting from July until November 2020.
The living expenses would also cover a two-week quarantine.
Grant for Top 30 Startups. The top 30 startups would have the opportunity to attend a three-day demo day event starting from November 19 to 21, 2020. They would also receive financial support for 3.5 months from January to April 2021. A one-person team would receive 12.25 million won ($10,840), while a two-person team would receive and 17.5 million won ($15,490).
Grant for Top Five Startups. The top five teams would receive financial grants as follows:
- 1st Prize: 135.6 million won ($120,000)
- 2nd Prize: 67.8 million won ($60,000)
- 3rd Prize: 33.9 million won ($30,000
- 4th Prize: 22.6 million won ($20,000)
- 5th Prize: 11.3 million won ($10,000)
Additional Investments. The accelerators have the option to create equity investments in startup teams they would find promising. Startups could also have access to other venture capitals and investors who chooses to invest.
Access to State-of-the-Art Resources. Selected teams would have the privilege of staying and working at South Korea’s new Startup Campus located in Pangyo, south of Seoul. The startups would get access to world-class prototyping, testing facilities, and expert support at the Pangyo Techno Valley. The teams would also have access to well-equipped office spaces and interns to help with things such as language and cultural barriers.
Help Desk & Visa Acquisition. Under South Korea’s “Overall Assistance for Start-up Immigration System (OASIS)” program, KGSC and NIPA would ensure a smooth and timely visa process, especially for foreign entrepreneurs. The startup teams would have access to administrative support, translation service, and interpretation to allow convenient and productive work.
For further information and the application for K-Startup Grand Challenge, visit the website – https://www.k-startupgc.org/ and check the Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/kstartupgc) and the LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/company/kstartupgc) for more information and further updates.