Singapore, 21st April 2021 – The K-Startup Grand Challenge (KSGC 2021) is open for applications for its 2021 edition, with applications due on 15 June 2021 and the global auditions starting from 5 July 2021 to 9 July 2021.
Organised by the Korean government through Korea IT Cooperation Center, Ministry of SMEs and Startups, National IT Industry Promotion Agency, Korean Investment Corporation (Silicon Valley) and Korea – India Cooperation Center, the KSGC 2021 is set to bring in revolutionary wide-ranging startups to South Korea and aid the businesses to grow in the thriving Asian market.
The KSGC 2021 Edition Kicks Off
This year, the KSGC 2021 will offer the top 60 finalists a chance to live in Korea and develop their startups in a 3.5-month accelerator programme. The organisers will cover expenses, provide free office and project space, arrange support from Korean interns and offer mentorship from Korean leaders, as well as networking opportunities with like-minded conglomerates. Along with professional assistance in South Korea, the top 30 finalists will take part in the Demo Day and settlement programme in November 2021. On top of that, the overall grants for the top 10 finalists are up to USD$320,000.
The programme promises extended support from distinguished South Korean companies including Samsung, LG, Hyundai and Lotte etc, allowing startups to introduce themselves among an extensive network of international corporate mentors, founders and investors from a broad spectrum of expertise.
The startups will be co-located at the heart of Seoul in the Startup Campus of Pangyo Techno Valley. At the booming hotspot, the businesses will be furnished with cutting-edge R&D labs, and given pitching lessons, personalised training sessions, coaching on South Korean and Asian business culture, as well as business affairs like patents, accounting regulations, tax laws and more.
“KSGC helped pave the way for me to reach out to potential investors and partners and helped me set up over 50 meetings throughout the program. Since joining the KSGC program in the summer of 2020 and successfully won the grand prize, we have raised US $3M (US $5.6M to date) led by Korean investors as well as named a finalist in the NASA iTech initiative.”
– Kyul Ko, Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer at Ommo Technologies, Inc, (KSGC 2020’s 1st Grand Prize Winner)
Offering a Global Stage for Startups
In the last year, the research and policy advisory organisation Startup Genome’s authoritative 2020 Global Startup Ecosystem Report ranked Seoul, South Korea, in the 20th position for growing startups with an ecosystem valued at US$39 billion, almost four times more than the global average.
With South Korea recognised as an early adopters’ market, the KSGC 2021 will present a global stage for businesses to leave their footprint in the burgeoning country and beyond. The selection process will evaluate businesses in various aspects from their level of creativity, business concept, to the technologies, and their passion to kick start their business in South Korea.
“If you look at the Asian market, it is a huge and growing market. Korea is the best in Asia with a large domestic market of about 50 million people. You can get to more than 4 billion people on just a short flight from Korea. We got second place, and the prize was USD$60,000 cash in our account a month after Demo Day. Moreover, you can get an additional grant after Demo Day, so we are well up over USD$100,000 in grants from the KSGC program.”
– Trevor Owens, CEO of Rocketship (KSGC 2020’s 2nd Grand Prize Winner)
In 2020, 2,648 startups from 118 countries took part in the K-Startup Grand Challenge, where 55 of them were chosen to participate in the 3.5 month-long acceleration programme. The selected businesses were equipped with initial funding and office space to kick off their businesses in South Korea. The top 30 teams were then chosen for the Demo Day in November, where elected teams were given additional funds for 3.5 months to help them successfully establish their place in South Korea.
For KSFC 2021, interested applicants must be a part of a global startup that has been established within the past 7 years to apply. Technology-based startups must have a prototype or product/service and at the initial investment stage.
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