Google has invested $87.9 million to incubate nearly 500 South Korean startups and help them go abroad, a company official said.

Google’s ChangGoo Programme — launched in 2019 in cooperation with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups — is aimed at discovering potential young developers and fledgling businesses and helping them become profit-making companies through the tech firm’s information technology infrastructure and global network.

The programme includes various educational workshops and conferences, mentoring activities and networking events, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Kay Shin, senior director of marketing, Asia-Pacific platforms and ecosystems, said the programme is an indigenous one in South Korea as Google has credited Korean developers with an ambitious spirit and outstanding capability, citing the Korean developer Sohn Ho-year, who won the 2023 edition of Google’s data science and technology competition, Kaggle.

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“There are many successful startups from our incubation programme,” she said during a press event. “We’ve funnelled more than 118 billion won into the ChangGoo Programme since its launch to support those young companies”.

She said Google has invited 80 potential startups annually to its programme since its launch in 2019, and the number was increased to 100 this year. Nearly 500 companies have participated in the programme over the cited period.

Participants in the ChangGoo Programme have seen downloads of their applications soar 140 per cent and revenues 62 per cent from 2019-2021. About 69 per cent of them also do their business outside Korea, she added.

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“Our biggest goal is to serve as a bridgehead for helping Korean developers go abroad,” the Google official said.

“This year, we will join hands with Japan’s Google for Startups programme and let Korean developers meet with Japanese experts before starting their businesses in the neighbouring country,” it added.

Google for Startups is the tech giant’s startup incubation programme at the global level.