Attention Global Startups: South Korea’s K-Startup Grand Challenge 2020 accepting applications till June 25th

Seoul, May 21, 2020: For global entrepreneurs and startups who want to explore business opportunities in South Korea and expand business in Asia, the Korean government’s ace program K-Startup Grand Challenge is an assured gateway. The program, supported by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) and National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA), is now accepting applications for the program till June 25th, 2020.  

The program is an all expenses paid and the first of its kind in Asia with grand prizes for top five teams. The best winning team gets $120,000 and further assistance to develop business in South Korea.

About K-Startup Grand Challenge

K-Startup Grand Challenge is a startup accelerator program conducted and financed by the Korean government. The program is an initiative to support foreign startups that want to enter the Korean market and further explore the international markets. The program has been promoting Korea as the global leading startup business hub since 2016.

The selected startup teams get many benefits with the 3-month program from networking opportunities, learning from experts, financial support to business development.  Importantly, the selected startups can look forward to a promising future in Asia, considering the convenient geographical location of the country and its strategically beneficial relationships with other countries in the sub-continent.

In 2019, the program had received applications from 1,677 teams from 95 countries. Thirty-eight teams from Europe, Asia, and America had been selected for the accelerating program. Out of that 20 teams were selected on final demo day, and they received further follow–up support from January to April 2020.

In 2020, there is scope for 60 talented and innovative startup teams to be part of the enriching program.


The Selection Process and the 2020 KSGC Program

The application and promotion of the K-Startup Grand Challenge 2020 have started with the last date for submitting applications being June 25th, 2020. An expert panel of judges will be reviewing the applications, and the global selection process will start in early July 2020.


Sixty selected teams will participate in the accelerating program from September 1st, 2020, to November 30th, 2020. The top 30 will attend the demo day from November 19th to 21, 2020, and get further support for business development from January to April 2021.

Who can apply?

  • Startups that are less than 7 years old or pre-entrepreneur whose representative holds a foreign nationality or is an -overseas Korean (foreign compatriot).
  • Promising startups with a clear objective to expand into Asia by using the Korean market as a stepping stone.
  • Startups with interests in Artificial Intelligence, Big-Data, Cloud computing, Networking, IoT, Robotics, Auto Tech, VR/AR/MR, Smart city, Health, Semiconductor, Green, 3D printing, Block chain, Fintech, Information Security, e-commerce, O2O, Logistics, Media, etc. are encouraged to apply.


Benefits for the startups

1. Networking and Expert support: The 3-month acceleration program fully supports the 60 teams. This program gives access to 1-on-1 mentoring, information sessions, coaching on Korean and Asian business culture, and seminars on topics like patents, accounting regulations, tax laws, and more. Startups will have regular networking sessions and opportunities to meet with large Korean conglomerates, looking to partner with startups.

2.  Financial support: Living expenses (July-Nov 2020): The 60 selected teams receive USD 10,840 (₩12,250,000) for one-person team and USD 15,490 (₩17,500,000) for two-person team to cover the living expenses over 3.5 months (including 2 weeks of quarantine).

Grant for Top 30 Startups (Jan – Apr 2021): The top 30 startups get to attend the demo day event and are eligible to receive funding for 3.5 months.  $10,840 (₩12,250,000) per team of 1 person/ · $15,490 (₩17,500,000) per team of 2 people.

Grant for Top 5 Startups: The top five teams receive monetary prize as

  • 1st Prize: $120,000 (₩135,600,000)
  • 2nd Prize: $60,000 (₩67,800,000)
  • 3rd Prize: $30,000 (₩33,900,000)
  • 4th Prize: $20,000 (₩22,600,000)
  • 5th Prize: $10,000 (₩11,300,000)


Additional Investments: The accelerators may make equity investments in the most promising startups. Startups may have access to other VCs and investors who may choose to invest.

3. Access to State-of-Art Resources: The teams get to stay and work at Korea’s new Startup Campus in Pangyo, located in the south of Seoul. The startups get access to world-class prototyping, testing facilities, and expert support at the Pangyo Techno Valley, which is home to many high-tech technology research institutes and large, global companies.  The startup gets well-equipped office space and Korean interns to help with things like language and cultural barriers.

4.Help Desk & Visa acquisition: NIPA and team of the program make sure the visa process is smooth and timely. The program is part of the Korean government’s OASIS (Overall Assistance for Start-up Immigration System) program, especially for foreign entrepreneurs. The startups will have access to administrative support, translation service, and interpretation to make work convenient and productive while in Korea.

For further information and the application for K-Startup Grand Challenge, visit the website - and check the Facebook page ( and the LinkedIn page ( for more information and further updates.

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