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GAPS 2017

South Korea seeks to diversify its startup scene with its latest accelerator GAPS

The South Korean government has opened applications for 30 foreign startups to join its new Global Accelerator Program for Startups (GAPS). The application deadline is 31 July.

The 1o-month programme will run from this September to June next year and shortlisted startups will each get a grant of $26 000.

Applicants will be assessed on how marketable and scalable their business models are as well as on their team’s makeup.

Winning startups will also be provided with office space, equipment and material. The programme will also assist participants in getting startup visas and additional mentorship on how to run a business in Korea.

GAPS is run by two government agencies, the Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA) and the Korean Institute of Startup and Entrepreneurship Development (KISED) and is operated by the Global Entrepreneurs Foundation (GEF), a non-profit accelerator.

GAPS is seeking to take on 30 foreign startups by 31 July

David Kang, head of the international startup centre at GEF told Ventureburn that he was not aware of any African startups operating at present in Korea and added that he was hopeful that the programme would not only seek to address this, but would also help grow the African startup scene.

“I am sure the benefits of the programme would build up the startup ecosystem in Africa as well,” Kang said.

In an earlier press release GAPS said South Korea has set aside about seven percent of its annual budget to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

South Korea appears to be on a drive to attract foreign startups, which are seen as a means to not only increasing job creation but to enrich the Korean startup ecosystem.

This is the second such accelerator programme that the Korean government has sponsored this year. The latest round of the K-Startup Grand Challenge closed in June.

GEF head Derik Kim said he hoped that GAPS would help diversity the startup scene in Korea, by attracting foreign entrepreneurs to the country.

“We have seen enough from K-Startup, but to build up a rich startup ecosystem, there should be various resources outside Korea. Hopefully, the founder (participants on the programme) would be able to penetrate the domestic market and go global,” he said.

Read more: Korea opens applications for 50 startups to join global accelerator

Learn more about GAPS 2017 here