The “K-Startup Grand Challenge,” a rigorous foreign startup accelerator program offered by the Korean government, ended a two-month long registration process and is starting overseas auditions and demo days. The final winners will be announced in December.
The Ministry of SMEs and Startups and the National IT Industry Promotion Agency announced that 1,770 teams from 108 countries applied from May 3 to June 14 for the online registration for this year’s K-Startup Grand Challenge, a program designed to promote collaboration and the exchange of ideas between startups from Korea and around the world..
This year's competition, which will be held for the third time, will select 40 teams of foreign technology entrepreneurs possessing excellent ideas and technologies through local auditions. The winners will receive up to 100 million won per company, including settling funds, childcare benefits, and visa acquisition costs.
Overseas auditions will be held in July and a 3½ month-long accelerator program will proceed from August to November. The final demo day will take place in December.
This event boasts the biggest number of participants among startup competitions for foreigners around the world.
Especially this year, it opens a global league to select 23 teams that will participate in “Challenge! K-Startup 2018,” the biggest startup program in Korea.
If a team reaches top 40 after the final round (demo day) in December, it will receive the prize money (up to 100 million won for the first spot).
Afterwards, the winners will be supported in terms of office space, domestic business connections, domestic workforce recruitment, and startup visa issuance process.
Over the past two years, 41 of the participating teams have set up a company in Korea and attracted an investment of about US$27 million.
"In this year's K-Startup Grand Challenge, we tried to improve domestic business viability of overseas startups by providing assistance for recruiting domestic workforce and linking with domestic businesses. We will try to strengthen the competitiveness of the domestic startup ecosystem by attracting global startups and introducing high-quality overseas manpower,” said Kim Ji-hyeon from the Ministry of SMEs and Startups.