Why The K-Startup Grand Challenge Can Be Your Gateway Into Asia

South Korea is one of the only countries globally that has successfully brought the COVID-19 outbreak under control. While other countries are struggling, South Korea is relying on high tech solutions to contain the novel Coronavirus, allowing its population to return to normal – with restaurants, shopping malls, and parks filled in recent weeks. Thanks to its grasp on emerging technology that ensures safety, South Korea develops into a facilitator for international events at a time where large scale events are restricted in most regions. Moreover, South Koreans themselves are known to be early adopters of technology, offering many opportunities for tech startups from all industries to rebuild and scale their solutions.

The key purpose of the global acceleration program K-Startup Grand Challenge is to promote collaboration and exchange of ideas among startups from Korea and around the world. For this, startups will come to Korea for an initial 3 month period* before selected startups will enter the settlement phase to break into Asia.

KSGC helps startups, like yours, get on their feet and run with new ideas, encouraging them to merge, collide, and lead on to new innovations. In 2020, K-Startup Grand Challenge’s impact continues to bolster South Korea’s reputation as a leading startup hub in Asia.

Why Join The K-Startup Grand Challenge?

Other than promoting the expansion of an open entrepreneurship ecosystem in Asia and assisting in South Korea’s evolution into a prominent startup hub in the region, the K-Startup Grand Challenge effectively supports all startups that participate.

Overall, the top selected startups will get a $120K cash prize, expert support, co-working space, living expenses, and extra fundings. Here is what else is in it for you:

  • State of the Art R&D Labs for prototyping, testing facilities, expert support
  • 3 Months Acceleration: The top 60 selected teams will be invited to stay in Korea to participate in a 3 month-long acceleration program. This program will give you access to 1-on-1 mentoring, information sessions, coaching on Korean and Asian business culture, and seminars on topics like patents, accounting regulations, tax laws, and more.
  • Access to a brand new Startup Campus: You will work at Korea’s new Startup Campus in Pangyo, located within a walking distance of many of Korea’s top tech companies and just a 14-minute subway ride away from the Gangnam district of Seoul.
  • Free Office & Project Space: You will receive an office space for your team as well as all sorts of equipment and space. Also, you will have Korean interns working for you to help lowering language and cultural barriers while pursuing local business.
  • Corporate Sponsorship & Support: Korea’s largest tech companies will participate in various seminars, workshops, and 1-on-1 mentoring with expertise ranging from smartphones to software to semiconductors.
  • Financial Support: The top 60 teams selected for the acceleration program will receive USD 10,840 for one-person teams and USD 15,490 for two-person teams to cover the living expenses over 3.5 months (including 2 weeks of quarantine expense*).
  • Settlement Phase: A 3.5 Month Settlement Fund is available for each of the selected 30 top teams after the acceleration phase (total USD 40,000)

Jacob Jacquet, CEO of Rezi and previous KSGC participant, sums up the advantages: “If you are considering the Korean market, then K-Startup Grand Challenge is the best program that will help you land on your feet here. The program gives two major benefits which are the monthly stipend, which takes care of your various expenses for living and business, and the other is the networking opportunities that introduce you to many connections to help expand in the Korean market.”

South Korea Is Your Gateway to Asia

Without a doubt, South Korea is one of the world’s most tech-savvy countries thanks to its population of early adopters, eager to experience and try out new technologies. This also means that the Korean market potential is high: With a domestic market size of about USD 736.21 billion, South Korea has the biggest internal market in the world.

In addition, Korea as a country offers many benefits for startups looking to expand their reach:

  • Startup Ecosystem: The country that has 11 unicorn startups. Korea’s startup ecosystem is active and well-designed, attracting the attention of investors, accelerators, and incubators from all around the world. Google, for example, launched its first-ever Asian Google Campus in Seoul.
  • Collaboration with Major Korean Companies: A great number of major Korean companies have expressed interest in collaborating with startups from around the world.
  • Strong Government Support: The Korean government is constantly improving the infrastructure. For example, the government has budgeted USD 4.5 billion for the data-related industry for 2020.
  • Gateway to Asia: Korea has strong cultural and economic ties with China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and more.
  • ICT Infrastructure: Korea is the most connected country with 100% of LTE coverage.

Advancing Technologies from Robotics to Artificial Intelligence & 3D Printing

To apply for the K-Startup Grand Challenge, your startup should fulfill the following criteria:

  • Founded in 2013 or after
  • HQ in the EMEA region
  • Want to use the Korean market as a stepping stone
  • Work in the following sectors:
    • Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Cloud Computing, Networking, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, AutoTech, Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), Augmented Reality (AR), Smart City (Agri, Gov, Factory), Health, BioTech, Semiconductor, Green Energy, 3D Printing, Blockchain, FinTech, Information Security, eCommerce, Smart Home, Logistics, Media (Gaming, Social Media, Digital Content)

Take advantage of the various benefits of this program as well as a surge of momentum into the Asian market & apply for KSGC by 25 June 2020!


*Editor’s Note: Before the acceleration phase starts, participants will be required to quarantine for two weeks.



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