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South Korea has been making a concerted effort to attract global startups lately.
Earlier this year, the country launched the K-Startup Grand Challenge, inviting 40 startups from around the world for acceleration in Seoul.
The move sees startups being given office space at a purpose-built Startup Campus in Gangnam, free round-trip tickets to the country and US$4100 a month.
Now, the country has launched another government-backed global accelerator, in the form of the Seoul Global Startup Center (GSC).
“A unique perspective”
In a press release sent to Ventureburn, Accelerate Korea said that diversity would help promote the free flow of ideas in the sector.
“The Seoul GSC would like to see a great community of people with lots of global participation. In other words, we want the centre to be a place where ideas can transition from other parts of the world to Seoul,” says Landon Miller, a manager at the new facility.
“Foreigners have a unique perspective on what is missing in Korea, but need specialised help to make it happen.”
Miller used the example of immigrants in the UK, saying they ran 14% of businesses and employed over eight million people.
“When these businesses are successful, they hire people, which adds to the economy of the country. It’s a win-win.”
What to expect?
The GSC will officially open on 1 August in Yongsan, with 40 startups being chosen for the six-month programme (held twice a year).
As for the perks, the programme will offer round-the-clock office space, a voucher for 10 million won (R125 987) for expenses/services, in-house experts, mentoring and a two-week trip to China or Vietnam to learn about the market and network.
The top 12 teams will also earn an additional five million won (R62 973) and several other benefits.
Miller explained that the future of the programme will depend on the commitment of teams, saying that extreme cases could see teams being asked to leave.
Interested? The first session runs from August to December, with applications open to foreigners in Korea, teams with one foreigner and “globally oriented” startups in Korea.
Interested parties can apply via the GSC website.