K-Startup Grand Challenge, a project initiated by National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA) and Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning is set to search for the next unicorn tech startup.
The startup event is opened globally and offers technology-based startups that have a prototype or product service catering to various industries, a chance to enter the Korean market and further expand its reach to global customers.
Fifty top ranking startups will be selected and invited to stay in Korea as they participate in a four-month accelerator program, where they will be able to interact with the program’s partner companies through conferences and workshops.
The startups will have one-on-one mentors, access to administrative, regulatory, and logistics support, in addition to a host of benefits including free office space, equipment, testbeds, and an incubating infrastructure.
The program also partnered with Korean business giants Samsung, Hyundai, Kakao, KT Corporation and SK Group, among some, which would provide their expertise of the local Korean and global markets to the startups.
At the end of the program, all 50 startups will present in a demo day where a panel of judges will select 25 startups. Additional financial incentives for the Korean Government will be offers to the top 25 startups if they choose to establish a business entity in Korea.
For startups which intend to establish their businesses in Korea, the selected startups will take part in a 6-month settlement program, where they will receive monitoring from the program’s Korean multinational partners, participate in regular networking sessions, and have access to startup campuses, and innovation centers.
The top 4 finalists will also receive additional financial grants.
For 2016, K-Startup Grand Challenge’s winners were given benefits including grants, free office space, and entry into an acceleration program and more. 13 local corporations and branches were established as a result of the event.
“A plethora of exciting opportunities await participants who will get an opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial spirit. We are eagerly looking forward to tapping the enormous potential that lies in Indian startup ecosystem and expecting to receive a large number of applications from India,” said Lee Kyung-Hwan, the Executive Director of India-Korea SW Cooperation Center.
The team at NIPA will be visiting cities across the country, including Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad, and Kochi. They will meet with prominent entities in the local startup ecosystems, including incubation centers, accelerator hubs, and more.
The interactions aim to channel the enthusiasm and vision of the local startup environment towards the event, offering them a great opportunity to graduate to the world stage.
Pangyo Techno Valley will become Korea’s answer to the Silicon Valley as the K-Startup Grand Challenge will take place at the startup campus in Pangyo Techno Valley, an industrial complex in the city of Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province of South Korea, 14 minutes south of Gangnam.
The complex focuses on information technology, biotech, cultural technology, and fusion technology. It is also home to more than 800 companies with over 50,000 employees, including notable firms like Kakao, Payment Wall, and Nexon.
The program is open to all technology-based startups globally, that has been established within the past 5 years, has a prototype or product/service, and are at initial investment stage.
The K-Startup Grand Challenge 2017 is accepting applications until June 7, 2017.
By Vivian Foo, VCNewsNetwork