Ready to scale up in South Korea and Asia? Join the K-Startup Grand Challenge (Sponsored) – EU-Startups


If you’re thinking of scaling up your startup in South Korea or the Asian region in general, then this programme could be your foot in the door.

The K-Startup Grand Challenge is a 3-month startup inbounding programme organised and financed by the South Korean government, now in its 5th year. If you’re an innovative startup interested in expanding into Asia, the programme will help you settle and scale up in South Korea. 

Addressing startups considering an expansion despite during the current crisis, Eunyoung Park, Deputy Director of NIPA, and KSGC Europe & Africa lead, stated: “Being able to pivot your business and adjust to periods of uncertainty is crucial and even more so for startups. We definitely understand people’s concerns regarding COVID-19 and whether it is good or even necessary to expand the horizon in this uncertain time. However, we can say with confidence that South Korea has all necessary preventative protocols when it comes to social gatherings and opening businesses. While COVID-19 has been sweeping over the world, leaving vast economic aftermath, starting a business in Korea would be an opportunity to scale up your startup.”

K-Startup Grand Challenge is mostly looking for startups working in the following sectors: AI, big data, cloud computing, networking (5G), IoT, Robotics, autotech, AR/VR/MR, smart city, health, semiconductor, green, 3D printing, blockchain, fintech, information security, e-commerce, 020, logistics, media, ETC.

A total of 60 teams will be selected to participate in the 3-month acceleration programme (Sept 1 – Nov 30, 2020) at the Startup Campus located in Pangyo (just a 14-minute subway ride away from the Gangnam district of Seoul). The programme includes 1-on-1 mentoring, information sessions, office space, coaching on South Korean and Asian business culture, seminars (e.g. patents, accounting regulations, tax laws), regular networking sessions and opportunities to meet with large South Korean conglomerates, as well as 1-2 Korean interns joining your team. Startups will also be awarded living expenses for the 3-month programme.

At the end of the programme on the final Demo Day, the top 30 teams will be chosen for an additional Settlement Programme, which includes funding for an extra 3.5 months (Jan 15 – April 30, 2021) and opportunities to attract investments from various venture capital firms in South Korea. Plus, the top 5 startups overall will be eligible for extra grant money.

Eunyoung Park added: “The K-Startup Grand Challenge is particularly suited to those who have been preparing to do business in Asia and within the Korean market. Along with the outstanding startup ecosystem, I would like to highlight the government’s wider support for startups. In addition to a total of $240k as cash prize, the KSGC program also guarantees additional investment from the government to help with establishing a new business venture in Korea.

Additionally, the co-working community in this program will be borderless. The startups are from everywhere in the world – North America, Europe, Asia, and you name it! Ideas and inspirations will be shared freely and openly. Moreover, the startups get to have a partnership with Korean-based big conglomerates such as Samsung, LG, and Kakao. As many people know, also the geographical epicentre of venture capital is shifting. Those venture capital funds founded by giant Asian tech companies (e.g., Samsung NEXT, Kakao Ventures) are big-game players and the K-Startup Grand Challenge can be a door-opener here.”

More information on eligibility and the programme can be found on the website of the K-Startup Grand Challenge 2020 and on the KSGC Facebook page. The application deadline is on June 25, 2020.





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