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South Korea once again on the Lookout for Australian and New Zealand Tech Startups

South Korea once again on the Lookout for Australian and New Zealand Tech Startups
What's new: K-Startup Grand Challenge 2020 for Australian/New Zealand Startups! More information here.

For the second year in a row, the largest accelerator program in South Korea is on the lookout for startups across Australia and New Zealand. First launched in 2016, the K-Startup Grand Challenge is a startup inbounding program organized and financed by the Korean government. The objective of the program is to promote the expansion of an open entrepreneurship ecosystem in Asia and to assist in South Korea’s evolution into a prominent startup business hub in the region. Over the last three years the program has:

  • Helped 109 foreign startups establish in Korea
  • Facilitated the investment of over USD 1.4 billion into startups 
  • Supported startups in developing 1155 partnerships
  • Connected startups with major Korean companies, SMEs, Startups and VCs, resulting in 906 business meetings

Last year, 2,648 startups from 118 countries competed to be selected for the 2020 K-Startup Grand Challenge. 60 of them were selected to participate in a 3.5-month-long acceleration program and received initial funding and office space. If selected, the program can significantly fast-track the growth of your startup through the following benefits:

  • Access to the 3 month accelerator program
  • Expert support and corporate partnerships
  • Living expenses covered (top 60 startups)
  • Access to VCs/Investors
  • Opportunity to receive financial grants in the top 30 (up to the amount of USD$120k for top startup)
  • Office space in Pangyo Techno Valley 
  • Visa Support

Last year, over 55 startups from Australia and New Zealand applied to be part of the program, with over 10 of them selected to pitch. Suel A Kim, the founder of Kurly (a Korean startup that operates a grocery delivery service in Korea), highlights two key reasons why the Korean market is perfect for foreign startups, “One, because of the sheer size of the market (sixth largest in the world) and two, because customers are so willing to provide feedback”.

According to ANZ’s 2018 Asia Opportunity Report, Australian businesses could gain approximately $400 billion in additional revenue to flow into their Australian operations if they make plans to operate in Asia. Australian startups looking to grow and enter the Asian market need to look no further than the K Startup Grand Challenge. ‍

The 2020 program is looking for startups that are working on technology across any of the target sectors below:

Applications for the 2021 K-Startup Grand Challenge close on June 15th and can be made directly via the official website -

Following the application process, there will be auditions in July for shortlisted startups and the top 60 teams will be selected to join the program. Find out more on how to apply below:

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Shay Namdarian

Shay is the General Manager of Customer Strategy at Collective Campus. He has over 10 years of experience working across a wide range of projects focusing on customer experience, design thinking, innovation and digital transformation. He has gained his experience across several consulting firms including Ernst & Young, Capgemini and Accenture.

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