K-STARTUP GRAND CHALLENGE PROGRAM

HOME K-STARTUP GRAND CHALLENGE PROGRAM

What is the KSGC Program?

The KSGC is an inbound program designed to attract promising foreign startups to Korea within the “Global Accelerating Activation Program” under the Ministry of SMEs and Startups of the Republic of Korea. The objective, expected outcome, and effects of the KSGC are as follows.

  1. 1. (Objective) Supporting promising foreign startups to enter Korean and international markets and promoting Korea as the global leading startup business hub.
  2. 2. (Expected outcome and effects) The participating teams will establish corporations in Korea and hire Koreans with the objective to run businesses in Korea, as well as create new businesses within Korea and expand to the overseas market, and consequently contribute to the globalization of the Korean startup ecosystem.

What is the qualification to apply KSGC program?

  1. 1. A startup or a pre-startup team of not more than 7 years, whose representative has foreign nationality or is an overseas Korean (foreign national or a foreign compatriot)
  2. 2. The team must have a clear growth objective for entering the overseas market, with their base in the Korean market, with the goal of settling down in Korea.
  3. 3. The team leader and members must not be disqualified from staying in Korea or acquiring a related visa in Korea, and the team must have one or more member with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  4. 4. The team must have people who can communicate in English(required) and Korean(optional) to establish a business in Korea. There is no other limitation such as investment or revenue status, etc.

How to apply the KSGC program?

You can ONLY apply through our official website, www.k-startupgc.org. Others such as email, phone, mail will not be accepted.

When does the application close?

The application will be closed 25th June. There will be no exception for the late submission.

What is the competitive rate of the program?

In 2019, there were 1,677 applicants from 95 nations, and we selected 38 teams (ratio 42:1). In 2018, there were 1,771 applicants from 108 nations, and we selected 73 teams (24:1). In 2020, we are going to select 60 teams.

How long is the KSGC Program? How long can I use the Global Boot Camp and its facilities?

The program will be 3.5 months long, starting from mid August to November 30th. (Including 2 weeks of quarantine) During this period, your team will be provided with free office space in the Global Boot Camp. If your team is chosen as final TOP 30 teams from the Demo Day, you will be able to continuously use the free office space.

How many team members can participate in the program? Are we required to live in Republic of Korea?

An applicant team shall be consisting of a team leader (required) and members (optional). Only the team leader and members that are registered in the initial application, shall only be eligible to participate in the program. There is no limitation on the number of members in a team, but KSGC only offers 2 regular seats for each team during their participation. Other members can use the empty, unassigned seats.

The participating teams must stay in Korea and devote themselves to the KSGC program during the participating period. Participants must be present and leave attendance records at least 3 times per week at the Global Boot Camp.

Do I need to be fluent in Korean to participate? What is the official language in the KSGC program?

A participate team is required to have an English speaker. Having a Korean speaker would be an optional. The official language in the KSGC is English.

Does the KSGC offer a special visa?

When you are selected to participate in KSGC program, you are at your own responsibility to obtain a proper visa to enter Korea. KSGC will issue visa invitation letter(s) to participating startups upon request. Find more information at https://www.visa.go.kr/

During the program,
  1. 1. We, as the Global Start-up Immigration Center designated by the Ministry of Justice, operates the Overall Assistance for Start-up Immigration System (OASIS). We support programs for the Job-Seeker visa (D-10) and Technology and Business Startup visa (D-8-4) for the individuals of the KSGC participating teams.
  2. 2. The conditions required to obtain Job-Seeker visa (D-10) and Technology and Business Startup visa (D-8-4) shall be in accordance with the data collection book of the OASIS to be introduced separately.

It takes a few days to be eligible for D-10 visa, but it may take up to 4 months for D-8-4 visa as one has to earn certain OASIS points. Moreover, it usually takes 2~3 weeks to obtain D-10 and D-8-4 visa depending on the circumstances of the immigration office. While the visa issuance is in the process, you are not allowed to leave Korea until the visa status is confirmed.

I have been selected. What happens next?

The KSGC Secretariat Office will issue invitation letter for proper visa to enter Korea upon request. While waiting for the visa to be issued, please keep us updated with the status of visa issuance, expected date of entry, names of the team leader and member(s) who will attend the orientation and participate in the program.

Can I be accepted in the program and get my visa rejected?

One of the qualifications of the KSGC program is acquiring a proper visa to enter Korea. If you get disqualified from entering Korea or acquiring a proper visa to stay in Korea, you will be disqualified to participate in KSGC program. No worries, there has been no such cases so far.

What are the benefits of participating in the KSGC?

During the 3,5 months, the support below shall be provided to participating teams
  1. 1. Settlement Fund (Including self quarantine expense)
  2. 2. Start-up visa program through the OASIS (Overall Assistance for Startup Immigration System)
  3. 3. Accelerating programs (training, mentoring, consulting on the corporate establishment, investment support events, etc.)
  4. 4. Help desk (settlement support, life convenience support, etc.)
  5. 5. Incubating facilities
  6. 6. Korea Intern working for you to help your business in Korea

What are the selection criteria of KSGC?

  1. 1. Evaluation for documents shall be based on the criteria below.
    • - Business Plan / Idea / Asian Market fit
    • - Strategy & Execution / Team Building
  2. 2. Evaluation for interview shall be based on the below criteria.
    • - Target Market / Problem or Need / Solution / Team, Board, Advisors
    • - Traction / Competition vs. Competitive Advantages / Revenue Model
    • - Financial Projections / Asian market fit / Overall Presentation · Q&A

Regarding the candidate selected by the previous paragraph, the president of the agency in charge shall confirm the participating teams after legal and institutional review including Korean market regulations and the executing agency’s consent and distribution, but this process does not constitute either approval or guarantee of the legal effectiveness of the participants’ business activities.

When will the result be published, and how will I be notified?

  1. 1. (Document Evaluation) June 29th – July 2nd
  2. 2. (Interview Evaluation) July 16th * The dates are subject to change

The applying team shall assume full responsibility in the event of an error in the email address, or failure to receive e-mails due to a faulty internet service provider or network defect provided by the applying team. The applying team is also responsible for checking the status of e-mail transmission and receipt by the agency in charge at all times so that communication can be done from and to each other in due course for each issue.

Who will help me between my acceptance and arrival to the Republic of Korea?

Helpdesk staffs will be available to answer your inquiries. We will announce the contact point of helpdesk once you are accepted to KSGC program.

When will the KSGC Program start?

The new program of 2020 will start on September 1st and we will provide you places to do quarantine for 2 weeks. The participating teams need to enter Republic of Korea before August 15th, which is the starting date of self quarantine. After that, you can join the orientation session.

We are accepted to the KSGC Program. Can we choose our start date?

You may choose your own start date under unavoidable circumstances; however, there will be disadvantage for not fully participating in KSGC program, such as reduction in scores of final evaluation.

Will the seats be assigned to startups participating in the KSGC Program?

Yes, KSGC offers 2 regular seats and 2 desks per team during their participation. If there are more than 2 members in your team, other members can use the open office space.

In the KSGC Program, can I change the spot where I’m sitting?

It depends on the circumstance, such as availability of the seats and monitors, and consent of other teams.

Are we able to change the team leader during the program?

In general, it is not possible to change the team leader. Team leader should participate in the whole process of KSGC program. However, under the unavoidable circumstances, it could be possible after consultation with KSGC Secretariat Office. In this case, the decision will be made whether or not the qualification of the new leader is equivalent to the previous leader.
* It is not possible to change to new team leader who is newly hired in Korea during the program.

Is there any obligation and regulations we have to abide by during the participation?

Yes, please read the following:
  1. 1. The participating teams shall not perform actions that may harm national dignity of the Republic of Korea or are not suitable for the KSGC purpose or the expected outcome and effects.
  2. 2. The participating teams must stay in Korea and devote themselves to the KSGC programs during the KSGC period and must attend the Global Boot Camp at least 3 times per week, an incubating facility.
  3. 3. Exceptions are allowed if the participating team is made to us in advance and approved by us. (overseas business trip, temporary leave, other reasons due to natural disasters, etc)
  4. 4. The participating teams shall submit monthly business reports.
  5. 5. The teams must participate full 3.5 months of the program. If the team withdraws from the program before the Demo Day, it would be asked to return the settlement funds.

Can my startup be asked to leave during the participation?

KSGC Secretariat Office shall take necessary measures including restriction on participation from KSGC when the participating teams and the follow-up support teams come under the items below.

  1. 1. In case of a participating team or a member causes serious damage to the dignity of the KSGC
  2. 2. In case of a participating team or a member engages in an action that harms the national prestige of Korea or violates national interest
  3. 3. In case of a participating team or a member commits an act that violates the laws of the Republic of Korea
  4. 4. In case of a participating team or a member submits false data or does not comply with the verification request of the agency in charge without due cause
  5. 5. In case of a participating team or a member violates the KSGC guidelines or fails to comply with the guides of the secretariat office without due cause

Can I use KSGC Program’s logos in my email signature?

Please let us know if you would like to use KSGCs logos, so that we can send you the original file (ai file) of our logo.

Can I tell the press about my participation in the KSGC Program?

Of course, you can. Please let us know if your team has such great news!

Can I switch my accelerator during participating in the KSGC Program?

You cannot change your accelerator once assigned, as your participation in the program have been decided by the accelerators.

What is the criteria on the final evaluation of KSGC?

Final evaluation shall be conducted in accordance with the following criteria:
  1. 1. Efforts to settle business in Korea
  2. 2. Business performance in Korea
  3. 3. Level of participation in accelerating
  4. 4. KSGC participation
  5. 5. Business model excellence and potential success in Korea

Where will the program take place?

The program will take place in Korea’s Pangyo Startup Campus, located within a walking distance of many of Korea’s top tech companies and just 14-minute subway ride away from the famous Gangnam district of Seoul.
* Address : (ZIP CODE 13488) 20, Pangyo-ro 289beon-gil, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do)

How many people will be assigned to a space and how will it be set up to ensure safety for all participants during the program?

Total of around 110 to 150 people. (60 KSGC Teams, 5 Korean Accelerators, 30 Korean interns, 15 Scale-up and OIP program participants) By sterilizing fingerprint identification equipment, furnishing hand sanitizer, and making wearing a mask mandatory, we will try our best to build up the safe environment so that foreign startups could have no worries and focus on business.

Upon arrival (in Korea), will the participants be quarantined? What if the quarantine order has not been lifted by the time the program starts? What is the backup plan?

The official launching date of the program is on September 1st. All participants must come to Korea 2 weeks before the program starts. All incoming foreigners shall be subject to mandatory quarantine for 2 weeks, otherwise they will be refused to enter Korea. Since the KSGC program provides funds for living expenses, participants can use the money while living in the designated quarantine facility provided by KSGC program.
Useful Links:
- Instructions for Quarantine Subjects (for foreigners)
- Incheon Airport Covid 19 Responses
- Korea government's COVID 19 response system
- COVID 19 Statistics in Korea (Confirmed cases, etc) (updated daily)

How will you ensure safety measure for housing options? Will the housing be up to each participants to decide?

In general, you could use accommodation services, such as airbnb, to rent the place during the early phase. Depending on your choices, you will be able to use various types of long term housing facilities, like houses, apartments, and monthly rent, later on. You will have the KSGC program manual including living information before you come to Korea.

Is Korea safe from COVID-19?

Korea has been recognized by the world for reactions to COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, you can visit Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (http://ncov.mohw.go.kr/en/) and WHO's Corona dashboard (https://covid19.who.int/).

Other

If your question has not been answered through this FAQ, please contact us at k-startupgc@nipa.kr

Top