Skip to Content

Press Releases

The World's Promising Startups gather in South Korea for its Favorable Environment for Founding

International Cooperation Division
The 39 promising start-ups from 20 countries who survived the tough competition of 42 to 1 will seek for the entrance into the global market, having South Korea as the hub.
The Ministry of SMEs and Startups (Minister Park Young-sun, hereafter “MSS”) announced that it will start the 4th "K-Startup Grand Challenge" program on August 21 (Wed) in the Pangyo Start-up Campus along with the orientation event for 39 international start-ups.
The K-Startup Grand Challenge started in 2016 to strengthen the competitiveness of the domestic founding ecosystem and make South Korea take a leap as a business hub for global start-up businesses, by attracting international start-ups and high-quality human resources with outstanding items and technologies.
This year, 1,677 teams from 95 countries applied. The qualified applicants to receive the support are required to be foreigners with a bachelor's or higher-level degree to get a Korean visa for start-up and the Korean residents abroad who are preparing for start-up or who are CEOs of start-up businesses that have not passed 7 years since its founding.
The 234 teams which passed through the document screening participated in auditions held in North America, Europe, Asia, India, Vietnam, and others last July and finally, 39 teams were selected.
They include start-ups in the fields of the AI, e-business, IoT, Fin Tech, and Green Tech. By region, Asia (46.2%) had the most personnel interested in Korea's start-up ecosystem, followed by Europe (35.9 %), and North America (12.8 %).
Starting from the orientation of the day, the MSS will operate a Help Desk from August to November to help them adapt to the Korean business and living environment. It also will provide space for childcare and an accelerating program for commercialization of their items and technologies. Based on this, they will be evaluated for their settlement in Korea (70 %), including participation levels and business achievement.
And then, in the Demo Day in December, they will make a presentation on their business results (30 %) to get into the final 20 start-ups given with awards.
The awards include a cash prize to settle in Korea (about KRW 0.1 bn for the first prize), issuance of startup visa, and opportunity to exchange with start-ups from different countries, including follow-up assistance such as linkage to Korean companies and investment sources.
The K-Startup Grand Challenge, in collaboration with the Start-up Competition, has attracted 162 international start-ups for three years from 2016 to 2018 through providing support for their settlement in Korea, education programs for the start-up visa, and follow-up assistance.
This bore fruits including the establishment of 74 corporate bodies in Korea, the attraction of investment reaching KRW 77.9 bn with sales of KRW 25.6 bn, and creation of new jobs for 154 people.