In recent years, the government has slowly ramped up startup support for foreign entrepreneurs, in the hopes to diversify the local startup scene and to help its own startups go global.
The top ranked 50 teams selected by the accelerators will be invited to stay in Korea to participate a four-month accelerating program in Pangyo, located south of Seoul.
The program offers to foreigners free flights, office space, stipends during the program and even cash to take part in the interview process.
In 2016 2,439 firms from 124 countries competed to be selected at a rigorous acceptance rate of 1.6%. Among initially selected 240 teams, 80 teams underwent a weeklong boot camp, and half of these teams went on to participate in a 3-month accelerating program. In late November, the top twenty teams were finally selected on Demo Day to receive comprehensive support, ranging from initial funds, office spaces and Visas, to help them successfully settle in Korean ICT industry.
The selection was based on the level of creativity in each startup’s concepts and technologies, as well as the startup’s willingness to start a business in Korea. As a result, a number of promising companies took their first steps into the Asian market, ready to startle the world.
One of the key purposes of this event is to promote vigorous collaboration and exchange of ideas between domestic and foreign startups.
70% of the 40 startups that participated in 2016 ended up incorporating in Korea, while 16 of them are still doing business in the country. In 2017 the program expands to bring in 50 startups, especially those in advanced tech like big data and Internet of Things.
Some entrepreneurs realized they needed language support full-time. Networking events would be overly formal -- Korean-style. Organizers and entrepreneurs claim mismatched expectations about what such a program could provide. And as a government program, the processes appeared bureaucratic -- contrary to the way fast-acting entrepreneurs especially from the West are used to operating.
See also: https://www.forbes.com/sites/elaineramirez/2017/05/25/why-entrepreneurs-come-to-south-korea-and-why-they-dont/#72fc2f567dbf