In only a week, I have spent three months in Chile participating in the government funded Startup Chile acceleration program. It’s been three very exciting months filled with new experiences, both professionally and personally.
We’ve all gone through the first days of Orientation, endured the first pitch session in front of our generation and have started building the product or advancing in our internationalisation. For me, this has meant identifying and contacting with local producers: A lot of meetings in order to understand the different materials, printing techniques and machines employed here and a lot of tests in order to get the same quality we are producing in Europe.
The most enriching experience so far has been the community: There is always someone to share a conversation, a problem, a laugh! Startup Chile has brought together experienced and first-time entrepreneurs from all around the world with the most diverse backgrounds.
We give back to Chile in the form of education to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are invited to schools and universities in order to talk about our experiences, we organise specific meetups and we give workshops or master classes in our field of expertise to the local communities. These events have been very enriching as not only we get to give back but also learn a lot about the local economy, struggles and the way to do business in Chile.
The Startup Chile program is constantly changing and improving. This weekend the minister of Economy here in Chile announced his plan to change the program and focus it more closely on chilean market. He wishes to raise the participation of national entrepreneurs to 50% and seeks to attract companies that are destined to the latin american market. Till today on average only 19% of participating startups were chilean and most came from the US.
With the next generation of suppers coming in in early August this will change drastically. Not only the nationality will change but also the focus from a worldwide audience to a more national / latin american audience to better benefit the local economy. A good change for Chile! Right now, there are a lot of startups in the early phases of their development concentrating on building a product to launch in their home country or in the US. This change in legislation will be felt soon and I hope to be able to observe it myself in August and September.