TODOC Takes Home the 2021 Entrepreneurship World Cup
South Korea-based startup wins US$500,000; CEO says the prize money will be "invaluable" as the company moves to clinical trials for its technology that will allow deaf people to hear for the first time.
Ana Maria
14 Dec 2021

The Global Entrepreneurship Network, Misk Global Forum, and the Global Education & Leadership Foundation today announced that South Korea-based startup TODOC is the winner of the 2021 Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC). The initiative is one of the world’s largest pitch competitions and support programs for the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

TODOC, an electroceutical solution company, has developed a surgically implanted electronic medical device to restore hearing to people with severe hearing loss. 

The company, which received a $US500,000 prize, finished first in a competition that started with 100,000 entrepreneurs from around the world. One hundred global finalists advanced to a series of virtual pitching rounds earlier this year, and 25 advanced to pitch live to a panel of international judges in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this week. Finalists represented a wide range of sectors including fintech, agritech, big data and health and wellness.

“To win is unbelievable," said TODOC CEO and founder Kyousik Min. "The talent in the competition was amazing. I now feel a heavy responsibility to make sure I do justice to the event and the award. The prize money will be invaluable to TODOC in the next phase, which is clinical trials for technology that will allow deaf people to hear for the first time.” 

The Entrepreneurship World Cup runners-up are: 

  • 2nd place (US$250,000 prize): Orbillion Bio, a U.S. company that is the first to bring premium lab-grown meat to the market.
  • 3rd place (US$100,000 prize): Plastus, a biotech company from Saudi Arabia that converts organic waste into bioplastics.

Cash prizes of US$100,000 were also awarded to the top-scoring startups in the following categories: 

  • Idea Stage: Symbaiosys (Trillion Tree Fund), a company from Bahrain that provides an AI-powered analytics solution matching institutional investors to large investments in forest and landscape restoration.
  • Social Enterprise: Xogo, a U.S. company that addresses the digital divide facing people with disabilities.

“This money means so much, both from a validation perspective and because the funding is what we need to keep on growing,” said Ray Abel, CEO of Xogo

The winners were selected by an audience vote and panel of judges including Reem Goussous, Managing Director of Endeavor Jordan, Musaab Almuhaideb, Chair of Seedra Ventures, and Carsten Kølbek, Co-founder of Rainmaking. 

“The creativity and ingenuity of these entrepreneurs are both inspiring and empowering as economies seek new ways of doing things following the pandemic,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. “Congratulations to the winners and all who participated.” 

In total, over US$1 million in prizes was awarded in the third edition of the EWC. Since launching in 2019, EWC has supported nearly 400,000 participants from 200 countries, awarded more than US$3 million in cash prizes and provided in-kind support and services valued at US$225 million.

In 2021, 100,000 Entrepreneurship World Cup registrations were received from 200 countries. One thousand startups pitched at National Finals organized and judged by local entrepreneurship organizations across six continents plus the Middle East. 

"We’ve seen throughout the year and at our Global Finals that entrepreneurs from all around the world have the passion, tenacity and ingenuity to succeed by providing solutions that the world needs," said Amal Almobarak, Entrepreneurship World Cup manager for the Misk Foundation.

The EWC is hosted by the Misk Global Forum, Global Entrepreneurship Network and The Global Education & Leadership Foundation. It is supported by global partners including One Valley, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, GAN, Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs, and the organizations that hosted the National Finals.

For interviews and further inquiries please contact: 

Kathryn Forrest

Media Relations, Global Entrepreneurship Network

About the Misk Global Forum

The Misk Global Forum (MGF) is the flagship international platform of the Misk Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic foundation established by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discover, develop and empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the future economy. Since its launch in 2016, MGF has extended Misk’s mission to young people across the globe. Through international events, research and global initiatives, MGF brings together emerging and established leaders, innovators, and creators to explore, experience and experiment with ways to meet the challenge of change. MGF focuses on three core areas across its activations: skills for the future economy; entrepreneurship and employment; and active global citizenship. Website:

About the Global Entrepreneurship Network

The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of projects and programs in 180+ countries aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a business. By fostering deeper cross border collaboration and initiatives between entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurial support organizations, GEN works to fuel healthier start and scale ecosystems that create more jobs, educate individuals, accelerate innovation and strengthen economic growth. Learn more about GEN at and by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.  

About The Global Education & Leadership Foundation

The Global Education & Leadership Foundation (tGELF) is a non-profit that seeks to identify and nurture leadership skills in individuals who are rooted in the values of ethics and altruism, and have a bias for action. tGELF was officially inaugurated in 2008 by the then Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh. In the last decade, tGELF’s flagship school curriculum on ethical leadership and entrepreneurship has expanded from just six schools in India to over 3000 schools across 14 countries touching more than 3 million students. tGELF’s community of future leaders and change-makers have also undertaken numerous high impact projects that have collectively impacted the lives of over 500 million people and raised over $6.38 bn dollars in commitments from governments, philanthropists, corporations and multilaterals for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Website:

Ana Maria Torres

Director for Entrepreneurship World Cup | Global Entrepreneurship Network

Ana Maria Torres is the Director of the Entrepreneurship World Cup at the Global Entrepreneurship Network. She has been adviser and consultant for… More