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MSS of Korea Enhances Support for Super Gap Startups in AI, Quantum and Space Sectors

2024-05-20 2 min read


MSS of Korea Enhances Support for Super Gap Startups in AI, Quantum and Space Sectors

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The Korean Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) recently held an event in Daejeon with around 20 representatives, including leaders from companies identified as pioneering startups in AI and quantum technology, along with executives and staff from host organizations such as the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

The event, named ‘New Super-Gap Startup Signboard Hanging Ceremony and Meeting’, aimed to gather insights and intensively support new super-gap startups in five key areas: aerospace, marine, AI, and quantum technology. These areas are part of a broader initiative targeting 10 crucial sectors including system semiconductors, biotechnology and healthcare, focusing on strategies to penetrate the global market.

To assert leadership in the rapidly growing global space market, increasingly dominated by the private sector, seven top-tier startups in the space and aviation sectors were selected for the first time. Key organizations such as the Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development (KISED) and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, promised dedicated support for these space startups.

The ‘Super Gap Startup 1000+ Project’ (DIPS 1000+) aims to select and provide extensive support to over 1,000 exceptional deep tech startups in 10 new industries, through a public-private partnership slated to run from last year until 2027. This initiative is designed to foster global unicorns.

The selection of startups was conducted through various methods such as public calls, private evaluations, and recommendations by government ministries. Ultimately, 217 companies were chosen through a stringent and transparent assessment by top domestic and international evaluators, facing a competitive ratio of 13.1:1.

The newly selected startups will receive direct funding totaling KRW 1.1 billion over the next three years. This includes up to KRW 600 million in commercialization funds and up to KRW 500 million in R&D funds, after individual evaluations tailored to each company’s needs. They will also benefit from linked support involving policy funds and export guarantees.

Additionally, tailored support specific to each industry’s characteristics will be provided by the technology commercialization organizations dedicated to each sector. In aerospace and aviation, for example, startups will benefit from technology development and commercialization initiatives using owned equipment, acquisition of global licenses, and support for participation and marketing at international aerospace exhibitions.

Among the startups chosen this time, those with advanced technology predominantly founded by researchers made up 80.2% (174 companies) of the total. By 2023, the average cumulative investment in these companies was KRW 8.9 billion, with the average annual investment reaching KRW 1.8 billion, indicating a selection of highly capable startups in the private sector.

Furthermore, from the startups supported by the innovation startup package project since 2020, 15 with outstanding global technology, sales, employment, and investment outcomes were selected through a distinct evaluation. Four of these companies have achieved significant growth, including being listed on the KOSDAQ.

Oh Young-joo, Minister of SMEs and Startups, commented, “Today’s meeting has reinforced our belief that deep tech startups in sectors like AI, space, and aviation are vital new engines of growth for our nation’s economy. We are committed to deploying all our policy resources to support these startups, helping them become global market leaders and develop into unicorns through their engagement in the Super Gap Project.”

[Korean Startup Policy News]

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