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The Korean government has launched yet another acceleration programme to lure foreign startups to the Asian country. The latest, In2Korea, aims to assist foreign startups relocate to Korea.
The programme is run by Korea’s National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA), which last Thursday launched a second call for applications — to all tech startups with a minimum viable product that are keen on developing their business in Korea. Only 30 spots are available. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until December.
Startups selected won’t need to give away equity and can get mentorship, office space in a startup campus in Pangyo near Gangnam and assistance obtaining a Korean Startup Visa.
Participants will be paired with and get mentored by other entrepreneurs who have established and run businesses in South Korea. Additionally, those taking part in the programme will get access to Korean legal, financial and human resources experts who can help startups incorporate their businesses in Korea.
Three startups in In2Korea’s first cohort are from Africa
In In2Korea’s first cohort 31 teams from 18 countries including South Africa, Russia, India and Singapore were selected. The cohort will kick off next week on 21 August.
Guillaume Parvaix, the programme’s media liaison, said three African startups had been selected to join the first cohort. These are: marketplace Hello Denim Africa and digital wallet company Jump Queue, both from South Africa as well as a Ghanaian startup, True West Media Consult which has developed a communications solution for taxi drivers.
The Korean government already runs at least two other separate accelerator programmes which are aimed at foreign entrepreneurs.
Parvaix said the Korean government is aware that foreign startups face numerous challenges in setting up businesses in the country.
He said the number of Korean startups is growing at an “incredible” rate, but that few foreign startups are coming into the country, because of complicated paperwork, the language and cultural barrier.
“The Korean government isn’t blind to these challenges and wants to encourage talented foreign entrepreneurs to come to Korea to expand their own businesses, help local companies grow and have a more diverse startup scene,” said Parvaix.
He added that he did not think that Korean entrepreneurs had a problem with public money being spent on programmes like In2Korea.
“The numbers of programmes for foreign startups is growing proportionally to the numbers of programmes for Korean startups and both are benefiting from this effort made by the Korean government.
“Korean entrepreneurs understand that they can benefit from the growing number of foreign startups entering the country and bringing more diversity,” he said.
NIPA vice president DJ Kim said in an earlier press release that the programme assists startup entrepreneurs, professional job seekers and investors to succeed in what he called Asia’s “hottest startup hub”. “We’ve already recruited some of the best mentors and area experts in Korea and they’re eager to get started working with the startups.”
Learn more about the programme here
Featured image: Supplied