K-Startup logo 3

Grand Challenge Programme

Pan-Gyo-Techno-Valley

 

 

WHERE

With the Support of

MSIP&NIPA

WHAT ?

Introduction

In recent years, South Korea has become one of the most innovative countries in the world thanks to its strong and growing commitment to innovation particularly through its current “Creative Economy” initiative, backed by President Park Geun-Hye. It aims to support entrepreneurship and start-up businesses by fostering growth in the Korean start-up ecosystem. Since 2013, the Korean government has been injecting around $2 billion USD each year into its start-up ecosystem in order to boost entrepreneurship, foster its venture industry and encourage international cooperation. The country has now become a start-up powerhouse and continues to cultivate a freewheeling ecosystem.

The Korea Startup Grand Challenge (or K-Startup Grand Challenge) is a project conducted and financed by NIPA (National IT Industry Promotion Agency) of South Korea. The ultimate objective of the K-Startup Grand Challenge is to promote the expansion of an open entrepreneurship ecosystem in Asia and to assist in South Korea’s evolution into a prominent start-up business hub in the region.

The driving idea behind this project is to endorse the inflow of promising foreign start-ups interested in the Korean or the broader Asian market through a global start-up acceleration programme followed by a Domestic Settlement Programme. This project gives start-ups the opportunity:

  • to expand into the Asian market through Korea, thereby using this country as a foothold for their international cooperation in Asia;
  • to be exposed to large Korean corporations such as Samsung, Hyundai, LG or SK; and
  • to receive mentoring and financial support in order to grow their business in Asia

In August of this year, after the reception of online applications, a total of 80 companies from all over the world will be selected and invited to South Korea to take part in a 1 week-long pitching session, including in-depth interviews, observation assessments and intensive screenings. Meanwhile, the 80 teams will be able to join local networking events with other Korean entrepreneurs, start-up representatives but also with large Korean corporations.

At the end of this pitching week, 40 teams will be selected to participate in a three month-long intensive acceleration programme starting in August. The eliminated teams will return to their home countries while the remaining 40 start-ups will be allowed to extend their stay in Korea. During the acceleration programme, the 40 teams will be able to use a project space, including equipment for product production and service development, test beds as well as an incubating infrastructure. Information sessions and coaching on Korean and Asian business culture, specific business aspects (e.g. patents, accounting regulations, tax laws, …) and one-on-one mentoring will be provided. The teams will also be able to interact with large conglomerates such as Samsung, Hyundai, LG, KT Corporation or SK through networking sessions, conferences, seminars and workshops. Meanwhile, networking and matchmaking events will be organised throughout the duration of the programme in order to promote international cooperation between start-ups, local successful entrepreneurs, distinguished researchers and engineers and large company representatives.

 

Acceleration.2

At the end of the acceleration programme, 20 teams will be selected for the second stage of the K-Startup Challenge: the domestic settlement programme. The 20 winning teams will be extending their stay in Korea for a period of 6 months during which they will receive assistance in the development of their business in Asia.

The companies will benefit from:

  • additional mentoring support
  • advisory support (in the corporate registration, tax, legal, HR & labour, IP and patent fields)
  • networking support with exposure to large Korean corporations (Samsung, LG, Hyundai, KT, SK, …) as well as Korean established startups
  • free access to project and office space in Pangyo Techno Valley
  • a financial package (click here for more information)

 

See financial package

settlement.1

  • South Korea is conveniently located in the Eastern Asian region between China and Japan, with Hong Kong and Taiwan to the south. For a small country of 100,210 square kilometres (38, 691 square miles), its capital is the world’s second largest metropolitan area with almost half of all Koreans living in Seoul.
  • In the world of ideas and technology, South Korea is a global leader. It is the most innovative country in the world according to Bloomberg (in 2014, 2015 and 2016) and the Innovation Union Scoreboard (in 2014 and 2015). The country sets apart the largest amount of its GDP (4.36%) for research and development in the world, and has the fastest growing gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) in the world (9.4%) alongside China. As a result, South Korea is a leading manufacturer in cutting edge electronics but is also one of the biggest consumers of these digital products.
  • It is also the world’s most connected country with 95% of the country covered in Wi-Fi, has the fastest average internet connection in the world, and has the highest number of broadband services per capita. This type of hyper-connectivity is especially important in a country where 4 out of every 5 people use smartphones. Furthermore, South Korea’s highly advanced technology infrastructure allows for quick consumer consumption of new services.

 

shutterstock_195412853

  • $2 bn / Year. The South Korean government invests substantially in the domestic start-up ecosystem. President Park Geun-Hye launched the Creative Economy Initiative in 2013 to tap into the potential within the tech industry. This initiative created the new Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning and allocates a significant amount of resources into fostering the start-up ecosystem and knocking down barriers and restrictions around the venture industry’s endeavours. Under the banner of the Creative Economy Initiative, the South Korean government has spent more than $2 billion each year since 2013 and plans to invest nearly $3.7 billion in the start-up industry during the next three years. Accordingly, per capital government backing is higher in Korea than in any other country.
  • Global hub. This long-term and globally oriented vision of South Korea is paying off as it is attracting the attention of investors, accelerators and incubators from all around the world. Google, for example, is advancing its start-up community cooperation with Korea by opening its first ever Asian Google campus in Seoul 2015. Currently there are around 40 start-up accelerators in Korea providing funding for entrepreneurs in diverse sectors. As the funding of Korean venture capital firms increases and the number of Korean start-ups climbs up, South Korea is poised to become the start-up hub in Asia.
  • Tax and law incentives. On top of its aims to change the financing structure of the startup ecosystem from loan-based to investment-centered, South Korea encourages the growth of the start-up scene even further by endorsing tax breaks and incentives for angel investors and venture capitalists, tax benefits for mergers and acquisitions in the technology and R&D sectors, and improvements in visa regulations for foreign start-ups and entrepreneurs with the introduction of the new OASIS programme.
  • Korean talent. Korea’s college graduation rate is the highest among the OECD countries and its students have one of the best results in mathematics and sciences. Naturally, the country possesses a large group of skilled developers and engineers knowledgeable in multiple areas from gaming apps to social media innovation. More and more of these fresh, college-educated talents are starting their own businesses instead of walking down the well-worn path of working for one of the chaebols.

Startup

WHERE ?

The K-Startup programme will take place at PanGyo Techno Valley in the Southern part of Seoul :

Pangyo Techno Valley is an innovation park in the southern part of Seoul (Gyeonggi Province) that focuses on information, biotech, cultural and fusion technology. It is Korea’s best ICT-based R&D innovation cluster with a total of 5.27 trillion won (around 4.2 billion USD) invested into it by the South Korean government. It was completed in 2015 and covers an area of about 454,964 square miles with support facilities such as the Global R&D Centre, Public Support Centre, and the Industry-Academy R&D Centre.

The Pangyo Techno Valley is an environment where SMEs and start-ups can mutually exchange information with high-tech technology research institutes and large, global companies. This complex aims to merge different industrial sectors, mostly within the information and communications technology, to create new business opportunities and foster the growth of start-ups. Born2Global reports that Korea’s top 60 start-ups and K-Global 300 start-ups are all located in the Pangyo Start-up Campus.

To further support the growth of start-ups, the Korean government has started construction on the Pangyo Creative Economy Valley, an addition to the existing complex, and is scheduled to be completed in 2019. The extension will be a new community especially for start-ups and high-tech firms and will consist of sites for private companies, including venture start-ups, “venture campus” sites for start-ups, “innovation towns’ for companies and research institutes, and government organisations that will provide support for start-ups, innovative technologies, the arts and for other creative industries in the area.

See full video out here from Pangyo Techno Valley ©

HOW ?

Procedure
Promotion & Reception of Applications
  • The K-Startup project is open to anyone so long as the candidates meet the requirements
  • Check out also our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for more updates on K-Startup Challenge 2016

Application deadline: 14 June

>> Location: regional scale <<

March – June

Application Review
  • All applications will be collected and screened
  • Only 160 of all foreign applications will be kept
  • The remaining 160 start-ups will have to prepare for future auditions

>> Location: regional scale <<

June

Audition & 1st Elimination Round
  • First elimination round through auditions and remote interviews
  • The 160 teams will be narrowed down to 80 teams
  • The remaining 80 teams will be invited to Korea

>> Location: regional scale <<

June

Pitching Session
  • A total of 80 start-ups from all over the world will be selected and invited to Korea to take part in a 1 week-long pitching evaluation, in-depth interviews, observation assessments and intensive screenings
  • Only one team representative of each of these 80 start-ups will be provided a roundtrip ticket to Korea, accommodation and work facilities
  • Meanwhile, the foreign start-ups will be able to join local networking events with other Korean entrepreneurs and start-up representatives

>> Location: Pangyo Valley, Seoul (South Korea) <<

August

2nd Elimination Round
  • Second elimination round at the end of the pitching session
  • The 80 teams will be narrowed down to 40 teams
  • The 40 teams that have been shortlisted will be allowed to extend their stay in Korea while the others will return to their home countries

>> Location: Pangyo Valley, Seoul (South Korea) <<

August

Acceleration Programme
  • The remaining 40 teams will be joining a three-month long acceleration programme
  • Each start-up will be given 5,000,000 KOR (USD 4,100), which covers housing and living expenses for 3 months
  • The 40 teams will be able to use a project space, including equipment for product production and service development, test beds as well as an incubating infrastructure
  • Information sessions and coaching on Korean and Asian business culture, specific business topics (e.g. patents, accounting regulations, tax laws, …), pitching lessons and one-on-one mentoring will be provided
  • The teams will be able to interact with large conglomerates such as Samsung, Hyundai, KT Corporation or SK Group through conferences, seminars, workshops, etc
  • Meanwhile, networking and matchmaking events will be organised throughout the programme in order to promote international cooperation between start-ups, local successful entrepreneurs, distinguished researchers and engineers and large company representatives

>> Location: Pangyo Valley, Seoul (South Korea) <<

August – November

Demoday
  • Final Demoday at the end of the acceleration programme
  • Korean and foreign investors will be invited
  • The 40 remaining teams will be participating in this event

>> Location: Pangyo Valley, Seoul (South Korea) <<

November

Final Selection & Settlement Programme
  • The 20 winning teams then take part in a 6-month domestic settlement support programme
  • They receive a special package
  • More information on the settlement programme here

>> Location: Pangyo Valley, Seoul (South Korea) <<

November

Package
  • Support programme of 6 months (from November 2016 to May 2017) for 20 teams
  • Mentoring support:
    • Support for subsequent projects in order to expand into Korea and Asia
    • Support from large Korean multinationals (Samsung, Hyundai, LG, NHN, SK, …)
    • Support from local and foreign experts
  • Regular networking and match-making sessions, workshops, seminars, conferences and close contact with large Korean multinationals
  • Access to office space, startup campuses and innovation centres in Pangyo Techno Valley

 

GRANT FOR ALL 20 TEAMS

40M KRW (+ $30K)

ADDITIONAL GRANTS FOR TOP 4 TEAMS

  • #1 best startup receives $100K
  • #2 best startup receives $40K
  • #3 best startup receives $20K
  • #4 best startup receives $6K

INVESTMENT

Potential investment from 4 accelerators

APPLY NOW !

  • Are you an early-stage startup or a scale-up?
  • Are you looking to expand into Asia?
  • Do you have a disruptive innovation in the IoT, software, smart devices, cloud, 5G or big data sectors?

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) is a ministry founded in 2013 under the Creative Economy Initiative of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye in an effort to foster new sources of economic growth in the promising areas of science and information technology. It aims to improve cumbersome regulations and practices that limit the creative potential of the private sector, making way for innovative ideas to become startups and businesses by converging the science, technology and ICT sectors and supporting research and innovation within these fields.

>> Click here for more information

The National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA) is an organization operated by the South Korean government that supports the country’s competitiveness of the IT industry through policy research and development support, and supporting international exchange, cooperation, and overseas expansion related to the IT industry.

>> Click here for more information

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