The Korean government is inviting foreign tech startups to apply for K-Startup Grand Challenge - a 3.5 months paid acceleration program in South Korea.

K-Startup Grand Challenge is a startup acceleration program hosted and financed by the Korean government. The program is designed to attract talented entrepreneurs and promising global startups to do business in Korea.

Startups from all around the world who are less than 7 years old or pre-entrepreneur whose representative holds a foreign nationality and promising startups with a clear objective to expand into Asia by using the Korean market as stepping stone are encouraged to apply and accelerate their startup in Korea. There is no restriction on the area of business fields, so almost any startups can apply.

After passing a regional audition, the top 60 startups selected by the judging accelerators will be invited to stay in Korea to participate in a 3.5 month-long acceleration program in Pangyo, a city located 14 minutes South of Seoul. This program will give access to 1-on-1 mentoring, information sessions, coaching on Korean business culture, and seminars on topics like patents, accounting, payroll, regulations, tax laws and more. You will also have access to regular networking sessions and opportunities to meet with large Korean conglomerates, eager to partner with your startup. In addition, a Korean employee will be provided for teams (1 person per 2 teams) to ease language and cultural barriers while doing business in Korea.

The top 60 teams selected for the acceleration program will receive USD 11,136 per team to cover the living expenses over 3.5 months. At the end of the acceleration program, the government will host a demo day to select top 30 startups. These startups will get additional financial incentives, and if they choose to establish businesses in Korea, they will get additional support.

In addition, the top 10 startups will be entitled to get the following prizes:

  • 1st Prize: $120,000 (₩132,000,000)
  • 2nd Prize: $60,000 (₩77,000,000)
  • 3rd Prize: $40,000 (₩44,000,000)
  • 4th Prize: $25,000 (₩27,500,000)
  • 5th Prize: $15,000 (₩16,500,000)
  • 6-10th Prize: $10,000 each (₩55,000,000)

The accelerators may make equity investments in the most promising startups. Also, startups may have access to other VCs and investors who may choose to invest.

The selected startups team will be issued with special startup visa under the OASIS (Overall Assistance for Start-up Immigration System) program, organized especially for foreign entrepreneurs. Beyond the help with the visa, the startup entrepreneurs will also have access to administrative support, translation, and interpretation to make sure they can work conveniently and effectively while in Korea.

Application Period: May 15 to May 31, 2022
Acceleration Program: August 1 to November 15, 2022
Demo Day: November 9 – 11, 2022
Follow-up Support Program: January 15, 2023 to June 30, 2023

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