Scale-up Gangnam-style with the world’s largest 3-month global accelerator programme: K-Startup Grand Challenge

As the world’s largest three-month global accelerator programme, the K-Startup Grand Challenge (KSGC) is a project conducted and financed by the South Korean government. It offers a fantastic global platform for startups looking to expand across the robust Asian market, via South Korea.

The key purpose of K-Startup Grand Challenge is to promote collaboration and exchange of ideas among startups from South Korea and around the world. The challenge helps startups to leverage the fantastic startup ecosystem in the country together with the various advantages of the programme (funding opportunities included) to launch and scale across Korea and Asia.

Why apply for the K-Startup Grand Challenge 2020?

In 2020, the K-Startup Grand Challenge can provide you and your startup with the support and opportunities for investment that you need to launch your business in Asia. The benefits include:

The challenge will give you access to world-class prototyping, testing facilities and expert support. The Pangyo Techno Valley is an innovation hub where SMEs and startups can participate in a mutual exchange of information with technology research institutes and large, global companies.

Each of the selected top 5 startups will be eligible for prizes as below, paid in Korean Won: a first prize of $120,000 (₩135,600,000); a second prize of $60,000 (₩67,800,000), a third prize of $30,000 (₩33,900,000); a fourth prize of $20,000 (₩22,600,000); and a fifth prize of $10,000 (₩11,300,000).

Each of the 60 startups in the programme will receive $10,840 (₩12,250,000 per team of one person), or $15,490 (₩17,500,000 per team of two people) to cover the living expenses over 3.5 months from August to November 2020.

Each of the selected top 30 startups subsequently, will be eligible to receive $10,840 (₩12,250,000 per team of one person) and $15,490 (₩17,500,000 per team of two people) as funding for 3.5 months January to April 2021. ·

The Global Startup Campus is strategically built just 14 minutes from Gangnam – Seoul’s thriving, upscale business district.

You have the chance to be mentored by some of the world’s top tech companies with experience in providing a global platform for startups and SMBs.

The challenge will give you access to Korea’s top tech companies with expertise ranging from smartphones and software to semiconductors.

Startups will have access to VCs and investors who may choose to invest in them. The programme’s accelerators may also make equity investments in the most promising startups.

Selected startups will work at Korea’s new Startup Campus in Pangyo, located within a walking distance of many of Korea’s top tech companies and just 14-minute subway ride away from the Gangnam district of Seoul. They will receive office space for their team as well as equipment and testing space. Teams will have Korean interns working for them (one intern shared between two teams) to help lowering language and cultural barriers while pursuing local business.

Who can apply

Promising startups with a clear objective to expand into Asia by using the Korean market as a stepping-stone may register and apply for the challenge if they meet the key requirements below:

  1. The startup should be not more than seven years old.
  2. The team leader and members must not be disqualified from staying in Korea or acquiring a related visa in Korea
  3. The team must have one or more members with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  4. The team must have members who can communicate in English (required) and Korean (optional) to establish a business in Korea.


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