In a bid to make South Korea’s tech industry more diverse, the government has created an accelerator for startups from around the world.
Called the K-Startup Grand Challenge, the program is being organized by South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), in partnership with Seoul-based accelerators SparkLabs, DEV Korea, ActnerLab, and Shift. It will accept applications through June 14.
MSIP director and spokesman Dr. Chang-yong Ahn told TechCrunch that this is the first time the government—which has pledged $2 billion per year since 2013 to the local startup ecosystem—has directly supported foreign startups. It wants to encourage more companies to set up business there and plans to make K-Startup Grand Challenge an annual program.
“Most innovation is borne from diversity—just look at Silicon Valley,” he said. “At this stage the startup and business ecosystem in Korea lacks a high level of diversity and the K-Startup Grand Challenge is one step towards creating a more diverse business environment in Korea.”
Forty startups will be selected to participate in the three-month long program, which begins in September and includes mentoring from 15 leading Korean tech companies, including Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Kakao, and Naver.
All companies will work out of the Pangyo Global Startup Campus, which was opened earlier this year by the government as part of a new startup hub.
The program is accepting applications from companies in all industries with growth potential, but it is particularly focused on gaming, finance, bio-tech, software, and information and communication tech.
“We would love to see some of the companies incorporate in Korea, leading to the creation of jobs and development of Korea as a regional technology and startup hub,” said Ahn.
Source URL : http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/12/south-koreas-government-launches-its-first-accelerator-program-for-international-startups/?ncid=tcdaily