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K-Startup Grand Challenge: The First Accelerator Program For International Startups

This past spring, the South Korean government announced the creation of an accelerator program for startups from all around the world: K-Startup Grand Challenge. Conducted and financed by the government, it presents an amazing opportunity for startups interested in running their business in Korea. (Above: Pangyo Global Startup Campus in Korea / Image Credit: Born2Global)

The global startup acceleration program aims to increase the awareness of business opportunities in Korea for startup companies. The K-Startup Grand Challenge promotes the expansion of open entrepreneurship ecosystems in Asia and assists South Korea’s effort to become a prominent startup hub within the APAC region. It is also intended to boost the country’s creative economy.

To ensure the success of the program, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning collaborated with Seoul-based accelerators ActnerLab, DEV Korea, Shift and Sparklabs. The project also received backing from industry giants like Samsung , LG , Hyundai, Kakao and Naver.

How does it work?

Round 1 – 80 startup teams are invited to Korea and receive full financial and administrative support.

Round 2 – 40 teams are fully supported getting $4,100/month for 3 months and a place in a Korean acceleration program.

Round 3 – After participating in a demo day, the 20 remaining teams each receive a settlement support fund of $3,300.

Round 4 – The top 4 teams receive additional grants ranging from $6,000 to $100,000. They may also receive investment funds from Korean accelerators against equity.

Objectives and Targets
  • To increase the entry rate of promising foreign startups into the Korean market.
  • To support foreign startup companies entering the Korean market and help them establish a foundation for expanding into other Asian countries.
  • To increase the number of foreign professionals operating within South Korea.

This article was first published in SILICON

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