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Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Why should Latam startups apply to Korea’s K-Startup Grand Challenge acceleration program

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

ContxtoK-Startup Grand Challenge is the top program by the South Korean government to attract and nurture international startups. The program was launched in recognition and support of Korea’s place as a global startup hub in Asia and the world. 

It’s an opportunity that startups in Latin America would be unwise to pass up.

You see, the K-Startup Grand Challenge program is the first of its kind program in Asia. An all-expenses-paid accelerator and with hefty grand prizes for top startups

It is a highly competitive but rewarding program that has seen solid participation since its founding in 2016. In 2019, the program had received applications from 1,677 teams from 95 countries, all selected for its three and a half month duration.

Applications are being accepted from international startups until June 25, 2020. Sixty teams will be selected to stay in Pangyo, located just to the south of Seoul. 

What’s in it for startups?

Let’s start with the juicy monetary offering, shall we?

For selected startups, the program is all-expenses paid. That includes the Covid-19 quarantine expenses for two weeks. A two-member team can get US$15,490, and a one-person team gets US$10,840.

At the end of the acceleration program, the government will host a demo day to select the top 30 startups. These will get additional financial incentives, and if they choose to establish their businesses in Korea, they will get support from the government. 

The top five startups chosen out of this final cohort will be getting grand prizes worth $240,000.

Furthermore, companies can look forward to:

  • State of the Art R&D Labs
  • Free office, project space & interns
  • Visa and helpdesk support from the Korena government
  • Expert mentoring and advisors 
  • Potential corporate partnerships and funding

South Korea, startup central

The question as to where to scale is always on the cards for a startup. Should you go to the biggest market? The one closest to your ecosystem? The one with the least friction?

South Korea would argue that you should go to the hub with some of the best startup and tech infrastructure in the world.

The Korean government is constantly improving the infrastructure and developing new policies and programs for startups to flourish in the country. As of 2020 they have:

  • Budgeted US$4.5 billion in the data-tech industries.
  • Looked into investing US$12 billion for the next 4 years for startups. 
  • Set an objective of increasing the number of unicorn startups by 20.
  • Endorsed tax breaks and incentives for investors; tax benefits for mergers and acquisitions and R&D sectors; and improvements in visa regulations for startup and entrepreneurs from abroad.
  • Ramped up its efforts to attract global startups with its largest outreach program—the annual K-Startup Grand Challenge.

The only thing left for you to do is to apply. But, remember, you’ve only got until June 25, so get the easy part over with and sign up now.

Make your region proud!

-AG

Alejandro González Ormerod
Historian, writer, and editor from Mexico City. He was a book publisher, academic, and cheesemonger before joining Contxto. Still deciding on which Latin American country to visit next; food and fun are the main criteria.

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