Google Korea helps start-ups tackle social challengesGoogle Korea, a local unit of Internet giant Google, said Thursday that it has helped South Korean nonprofits and start-ups over the past year to tackle some of the country’s tougher social challenges in line with its corporate social responsibility commitment.
Earlier in the week, the five nonprofits and public charities picked last year gathered to share their vision for using technology to change the world as part of the grant program “Google Impact Challenge,” the first of its kind in Korea.
The five winning projects have received a combined 3.5 billion won ($3 million) in grant funding for two years starting in 2016, as well as mentorship from Google experts and local support partner Ashoka, to help them bring their projects to life.
“Google believes technology can make the world better and faster,” said Lois Kim, a Google Korea official, noting that the grant program gives back to local communities and shares Google’s technological expertise in solving issues such as education, jobs and disabilities.
The grant program picked five finalists from hundreds of applicants through a public vote and a panel of judges from all different areas. The focus of the judging was innovative ideas on how they would make their community a better place.
“I think the biggest asset of the Google Impact Challenge is that nonprofits have freedom when using the funds,” said Kang Dong-joo, head of Like Lion. “Other government grant funds have a lot of limitations, which usually act as a huge hurdle for small organizations like us.”
Like Lion is a Seoul-based start-up that provides Web programming education about creating various IT services to students with no background in computer education. The firm provides a comprehensive set of quality lectures and assignments through its local online platform.
Originally a frat club at a university in Seoul, the start-up has now grown into a corporate nonprofit that has taught nearly 2,000 students from 130 universities worldwide.