Last year, the Korean government launched an initiative that invited startups from across the world. Over 2000 startups from 124 applied to this initiative with a rigorous acceptance rate of 1.6%. At the end of this initiative, a total of USD 5.55 million was invested in the startups that were accepted, by various Korean VC’s and conglomerates. Additionally, 70% of the startups went onto establish legal entities in Korea. This initiative was the K-Startup Grand Challenge, and this year it’s inviting Sri Lankan startups to apply.
What is the K-Startup Grand Challenge?
The K-Startup Grand Challenge is an initiative organized and financed by the Government of the Republic of Korea. The Korean government launched this initiative as it hopes to raise Korean employment, its GDP, and its place in the world by supporting talented entrepreneurs and promising startups. Thus, the initiative was launched to help transform Korea into a global startup hub in Asia.
So how does it work? The K-Startup Grand Challenge has five stages, which take place over the course of nine months. The first stage is the application stage, where startups are asked to fill out the application form to be a part of the program. Applications are open until the 14th of June 2017. Once applications close, they’ll be reviewed and startups will be shortlisted to take part in the global auditions, which will be held from the 3rd of July until the 14th of July.
At these global auditions, 50 teams will be shortlisted to join the K-Startup Grand Challenge Accelerator Program. This will be a four month accelerator program that will kick off in August. Over the course of four months, the accelerator will give the 50 teams a co-working space, which includes equipment for product production and service development, testbed facilities, and an incubating infrastructure. Additionally, the program will also feature information sessions as well as coaching on Asian business culture, specific business topics, pitching tutorials and one-on-one mentoring. Finally, the program ends with a demo day, which will be held in early December. This demo day will be where the top 25 teams of those accepted into the accelerator will be selected and awarded prizes.
What’s in it for my startup?
For starters, there are the monetary prizes. The top 25 startups will all receive a grant of $27,000. The top 4 startups will also receive additional grants with the top startup receiving a grant of $100,000. Additionally, the program also promises networking opportunities with many of Korea’s largest tech companies such as Samsung, Hyundai, Kakao, Naver, and more.
With these networking opportunities, the K-Startup Grand Challenge promises potential investment opportunities from these companies as well as Korean VC’s along with opportunities for contracts to be signed. Furthermore, if you’re an entrepreneur interested in expanding into Korea, then the K-Startup Grand Challenge will also offer you support to do so from the Korean government. So if you’re an entrepreneur that finds this appealing, then you can sign up for the K-Startup Grand Challenge here.