Chile and the Entrepreneurship Boom

In this recent video about the Start-Up Chile program, Economic Minister  Juan Andrés Fontaine discusses Chile’s start-up grant program. The program offer $40,000 grants to businesses and necessitates interaction with Chile and maintaining ties with the country. Luckily for us, the MEM department has a Chilean entrepreneur, Patricio Cofre, who shared his insights on entrepreneurship in Chile with us. 

0By Patricio Cofre

Description

Not long after starting the MEM program, Professor Mark Werwath invited me to speak in his entrepreneurship class for undergraduates about my experience as entrepreneur in Chile building my company Metric Arts. I was caught by surprise during the Q&A part of my presentation when students spontaneously asked me about the Startup Chile program, which I had not mentioned during my talk. Metric Arts has never been part of the program but fortunately I was aware of the program. It was only then that I realized for the first time how efficiently the program is positioning Chile as the definitive innovation and entrepreneurial hub of Latin America and, why not, to compete with the best entrepreneurship destinations in the world.

Start-Up Chile is a unique and pioneer program of the Chilean Government to attract world-class early stage entrepreneurs to start their businesses in Chile. Up to 2012, more than 1,600 applications had been received from 70 countries to get one of the 1,000 spots that the government plans to allocate until 2014. Entrepreneurs receive $40,000 without taking away any equity stake, but are required to live six months in Chile in order to help create a Silicon Valley-style innovation and entrepreneurship environment in the country.

While some countries are trying to copy the Silicon Valley formula by putting together industrial parks with research universities and access to investors and tax incentives, Chile seems to be proposing a different model by building a Silicon Valley from the bottom up, starting from importing ideas and innovators while creating the spaces to share their knowledge, product ideas, and business plans with locals, creating strong networks for the Chilean entrepreneurs and advisors.

The program has received major media coverage, including The Economist [1], Forbes [2] [3], ABC [4], Bloomberg [5], BBC [6] and Tech Crunch [7].

I could not be more proud of my country!

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