South Korea’s tech hub is starting to gain a lot of traction. South Korea’s startup community is on the rise and now thanks to the Korean government, look for that to continue. The South Korean government has made an accelerator program for startups outside of Korea that want to bring their company into the country.
The program is called K-Startup Grand Challenge which is being run by Minstry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning. They will be in partnership with accelerators already in Korea like DEV Korea, Sparklabs, and others. Applications will be accepted until June 14th. If you go to the program’s website it states that the ultimate goal of the K-Startup Grand Challenge is to……
“promote the expansion of an open entrepreneurship ecosystem in Asia and to assist in South Korea’s evolution into a permanent startup business hub in the region.”
TechCrunch recently did an interview with Future Planning director Dr. Chang-yong Ahn and talked about the Korean governments willingness for the first time ever to invest in foreign startups in Korea. This will encourage more foreign companies to set up their business in Korea and hopes to run this program for many years to come. Having more diversity in Korea can only be a good thing. That is one of the main things that separate the Korean Startup ecosystem and Silicon Valley, the diversity. The Korea Startup Grand Challenge is a step in the right direction to bring a more diverse business environment in Korea.
K-Startup Grand Challenge will take 80 applicants and choose 40 to give their pitch in August. They will be mentored by 15 of the best Korean tech companies like Samsung, LG, Kakao, and Naver. Then a demo day will take place 3 months later and then the 40 startups will be taken down to 20 where they will then receive $33,000 in funding from the government. The top four can get up to an additional $100,000. Not to mention the potential other investments they could get from investors that are at the event.
However just the chance to come to Korea and meet potential investors and partners is a great opportunity for up and coming startups that want to break into the Asian market.
They will get a co working space at Pangyo Global Startup Campus which is a new campus that was opened just last year. The K-Startup Grand Challenge will focus on getting foreign startups get deal with tech such as software, gaming, and IoT.
“We would love to see some of the companies incorporate in Korea, leading to the creation of jobs and development of Korea as a regional technology and startup hub,” said Ahn.
These startups could be able to get a free extended stay in South Korea to further establish their businesses abroad. This will be called “The Settlement Program” and will give these startups six months of support in South Korea. This is a large event/program that South Korea is launching. The Korean government has invested over $2 billion to improve Korea’s startup ecosystem in the last 3 years. They are looking to spend over $3.5 billion over the next 3 years.