South Korea’s National IT Industry Promotion Agency (“NIPA”) is delighted to announce its call for applications for the 2019 edition of the K-Startup Grand Challenge (“KSGC or KSGC 2019”). The KSGC, first launched in 2016, is a South Korean government backed project jointly organized by its Ministry of SMEs and Startups, and its National IT Industry Promotion Agency, and is aimed at promoting the expansion of an open entrepreneurship ecosystem in Asia.
From today until the 14th of June, interested startups and entrepreneurs-in-the-making who meet the following criteria can submit their applications at http://kicc.sg/kstartupgc-2019/
1. Applicant is part of a startup that is less than 7 years old or a pre-entrepreneur whose representative holds a foreign nationality or is an overseas Korean (foreign compatriot).
2. Applicant is part of a startup with a clear objective to expand into Asia by using the Korean market as a stepping stone
Singapore, and a soon-to-be-announced country will be the only two locations in the Asia Pacific region chosen for the upcoming regional auditions starting this coming end June. Selections will largely be based on the level of creativity in each startup’s concepts and technologies, and only 40 startups chosen from across the regional auditions will be invited to South Korea for a 3-and-a-half-month program from 15 Aug to 30 Nov 2019.
The top 40 startups will also be fast tracked through a visa acquisition program called OASIS, which is aimed at giving entrepreneurs a head start in starting their business in South Korea, while access to administrative support, translation, and interpretation will also be made available to ensure participating startups can work effectively while in South Korea.
The programme will culminate in a Demo Day in December, where startups will get a chance to present their ideas to the country’s most important investors, business angels and venture capitalists.
The top 20 teams after the Demo Day will also be invited to take part in a settlement program, and be awarded additional prizes, with the winner of the challenge also awarded a US$100,000 grant in addition to receiving funding and living expenses.
Known as one of the world’s most connected countries and an early adopters’ market – the startups which successfully get into the programme will be given a chance to network with famous world-class accelerators, test their solutions in the market and use this opportunity to launch their business into neighbouring markets China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.
With globally renowned South Korean companies like Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Naver and Lotte, amongst the corporates already confirmed to lend their support to the programme, startups in the programme will have access to an international network of globally recognised corporate mentors, fellow founders, and different types of investors who are experts in different key areas of knowledge. The startups, co-located in the Startup Campus of Seoul’s Pangyo Techno Valley, will also have access to state-of-the-art R&D labs, while regular training sessions in the form of information sessions and coaching on South Korean and Asian business culture, specific business topics (e.g. patents, accounting regulations, tax laws, etc.), pitching lessons, and one-on-one monitoring will also be provided.
“The K-Startup Grand is part of our strategy to discover and support the next generation of technology innovations. Our experience and resources will help to unlock the potential of emerging entrepreneurs, and assisting the startups in their personal and professional development will directly contribute to helping them reach their next stage of growth.
We look forward to another exciting breakthrough year for the tech startups from around the world, and how this will be able to benefit Asia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and overall innovation blueprint.” said Ms Jun Byong Nam, Regional Director, Korea IT Cooperation Center, Singapore.
Interested startups are invited to apply to enter the program here by June 14th, 2019.