SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Korea Bizwire) – The final stages of the 2016 K-Startup Grand Challenge took place Wednesday at the Pangyo Startup Campus in Seongnam, with international experts and businessmen and women from various fields ranging from artificial intelligence and virtual reality technology to UAVs and videogames in attendance.
A total of 2,439 teams from 124 countries competed in the event’s preliminary stages, 78 of which survived for the chance to pitch their ideas at today’s event. Of the finalists, 16 were from the United States, followed by India (8), Singapore (7), and Belgium (5), with Korean companies barred from entering the competition.
The purpose of the contest is to attract overseas startups by offering financing from government funds, with the goal of diversifying Korea’s startup environment. According to the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning (MSIFP), the event will also stimulate Korea’s high-tech industry by creating a line of competition with international firms.
The top 40 teams will be given the opportunity to participate in a three-month entrepreneurship course at the Pangyo campus to tailor their business models, while being offered a wide range of expert advice on technology and business strategies.
Upon finishing the course, 20 teams will ultimately be selected at December’s Demo-Day Assessment, during which they’ll present their prototypes and proto-services. Each team will be provided with 40 million won ($36,100) in government funds under the condition that they establish their companies in Korea.
“The 20 finalists will have to operate their business, including research and development, by establishing a corporate body here (in Korea),” said a ministry official. “We expect their endeavors to also help create new jobs.”
“We’ve had many applicants from the United States and Europe, despite their well-established environment for start-ups compared to Korea,” he added. “Korea’s high consumer standards, which make a perfect testbed for new products and services, outstanding ICT infrastructure, and the possibility of collaborative business with Korean conglomerates seem to have attracted the participants.”
Other countries have made similar arrangements in the past, with Chile’s Start-Up Chile and France’s French Tech Ticket being the most popular.
“We heard Korea has many technical talents that have yet to be discovered,” said a participant during the Wednesday’s pitch. “If our idea makes it to the final 20, we want to work with such talented software engineers from Korea and face together the coming IoT innovation in Asia.”
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)