INTRODUCTION

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How does a unicorn corporation come to being? The 4th industrial revolution should be set upon a paradigm that we have never seen before. Economic potential today cannot be achieved without building new industries and starting new businesses. Countries around the world are fighting tooth and nail to cultivate globally-competitive startups. They also need outposts where they can realize their ideas and assert their marketing efforts in the region with better investment environment. Korea is trying to respond to those clamors for these outposts.

August 2016, startups around the world set their eyes on Seoul as 2,439 firms from 124 countries competed to be selected at a rigorous acceptance rate of 1.6%. Among initially selected 240 teams, 80 teams underwent a weeklong boot camp, and half of these teams went on to participate in a 3-month accelerating program. In late November, the top twenty teams were finally selected on Demo Day to receive comprehensive support, ranging from initial funds, office spaces and Visas, to help them successfully settle in Korean ICT industry.

Startups that participated in the program were especially satisfied when they were fairly evaluated by, and given a chance to network with famous world-class accelerators. The selection was based on the level of creativity in each startup’s concepts and technologies, as well as the startup’s willingness to start a business in Korea. As a result, a number of promising companies took their first steps into the Asian market, ready to startle the world.

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The program has been applauded for its impartial selection processes, the participating organizations’ high level of competence and their passion, as well as its distinctive methods and achievements; such achievements and recognitions continue to bolster Korea's reputation as a leading ICT powerhouse in Asia.

Miracles will continue to be made this year as they were made in 2016 K-Startup Grand Challenge. One of the key purposes of this event is to promote vigorous collaboration and exchange of ideas between domestic and foreign startups. We will strive to become a linchpin for supporting startup establishments where new ideas merge and collide, leading to new creations. With the continuous growth of the Korean Wave spreading across all parts of Asia, firms starting in Korea can take advantage of having a head start in capturing the Asian market.

By carefully taking feedbacks and lessons from last year's event into consideration, 2017 K-Startup Grand Challenge will be furnished with better investment opportunities and government subsidies in order to meet firms' substantial needs, allowing them to take a bolder step into the Asian market with their ideas and passion. 2017 K-Startup Grand Challenge, the meetinghouse where Korea and next generation unicorn startups come together! An exciting new chapter of ICT startup begins.

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