K–Startup Grand Challenge to Make Korea Asian Hub of Global Startups

Last year, approximately 2,400 startups from 124 countries participated in the K-Startup Grand Challenge

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Lee Kyung-hwan, Executive Director of India-Korea SW Co-operation Center.

The K–Startup Grand Challenge is an annual event organized in South Korea. Last year’s Challenge was a big success.

Lee Kyung-hwan, Executive Director of India-Korea SW Co-operation Center, talks about this year's K–Startup Grand Challenge. Excerpts:

BW: What is the objective of the K-Startup Grand Challenge?

Lee Kyung-hwan: NIPA (National IT Industry Promotion Agency, is a government organization of South Korea and affiliated to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

One of the key purposes of this event is to promote vigorous collaboration and exchange of ideas, between domestic and foreign startups.

BW: Give us an overview of last year’s K-Startup Grand challenge in India.

Lee Kyung-hwan: K-Startup Grand Challenge is a global startup event held in Korea annually. Last year, we had 2,399 startups from 124 countries join the Challenge.

From here, 281 Indian startups applied and eight were invited to Korea. For the final audition, four were selected for a four-month Accelerating Program. Post the Accelerating Program, two startups were selected to be part of the various demo-days. These were:

* Preksh:, based in Bengaluru, their business model is shopping service in augmented reality, received the fund from Korea VC and made a service agreement with a Korean company.

* Sound Rex, based in Mumbai, their business model is wearable speaker and made it to the final 20, they made a service agreement with a Korean company.

BW: Who are they looking at for this year's programme?

Lee Kyung-hwan: In 2017, we are expecting participation from a great number of Indian startups for the K-Startup Grand Challenge.

Last year, approximately 2,400 startups from 124 countries participated in the K-Startup Grand Challenge.

Through co-operation between Korea and foreign startups, we want to create Unicorn startups for the global market. Simultaneously. we want to enhance the openness of the Korean startup ecosystem and make Korea the Asian hub of global startups.

BW: What are the opportunities and the exposure in store for the Indian start-ups by the Korean government?

Lee Kyung-hwan: Indian startups can take advantage of Korea as a test bed and launch pad at the same time. The Korean users and customers are early adopters and opinion leaders in the global market.

So many global companies launch their services and products in Korea first to understand the market response. Korea has also been the gateway for breaking into the Asian market, including Japan, China, and South East Asian countries.

Through the K-Startup Grand Challenge, Indian startups can establish a more tangible and keen business model and partner up with various Korean companies. They can enter the Korean market and have the opportunity to break into the Asian market more efficiently and effectively.

The Korean Government will make every effort to develop the startup capability and the partnerships based on the four-month accelerating program and various demo days.  

BW: What kind of funding would be provided to the Indian startups?

Lee Kyung-hwan: To the selected 50 startups of the Accelerating Program, $850 would be offered as prize money and $12,000 will be offered as living cost and business settlement money. They can utilize the work space and R&D facility, including 3D print, testing environment, etc.

The 25 selected at the Demo Day, will be eligible for $27,000 for Business settlement and stabilization. And out of these 25, prize money will be offered to the best 4 ($100,000, $40,000, $20,000, $6,000).



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