Nearshore Americas

Chile Sets Up another Stage for Young Entrepreneurs to Pitch their Ideas

Chile is getting ready to organize an event similar to that of ‘Start-Up Chile’ as the Latin American country tries to further its mission of seducing foreign investors and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship among Chileans.

The new event is called ‘Common Pitch Chile’, and this will get underway on November 29 and run for three days in Santiago.

This is not an event run directly by the Chilean government but by an international branding company called ‘Common’. The Chilean authority will, however, play its role behind the screen.

The event features live music programs, to be presented by world-famous rock stars, and a dozen workshops where technology experts from around the world will share their know-how with Chileans.

Thus, Chile, a nation better known for copper-mining and cheap wine, is set to innovate its way to becoming the tech hub of Latin America.

The government has set aside $40 million solely for the purpose of persuading global businesses to set up shop in its territory and is planning to reach out to as many as 1000 entrepreneurs by next year.

With Start-Up Chile, the government selected promising young firms and gave their founders the equivalent of $40,000 and a year’s visa to come and work on their ideas in Chile. As many as 500 companies and almost 900 entrepreneurs took part in the event.

Though the ‘Common Pitch Chile’ is relatively a small event, it is designed to sustain the investors’ interest generated by the Start-Up Chile, say analysts.

With events of this kind, analysts say, Chile is trying to import foreign entrepreneurs, in the hope that they will ultimately inspire homegrown ones.

A contest set up by the organizers will filter the entrepreneurs waiting to exhibit their projects at the event. Those who ultimately participate will be eligible for an expert advice on how to develop their idea into a product and a cash prize of $35,000.

Aside from rock starts, many dignitaries from around the world will attend the event, including Nobel Prize winner and former US Vice President Al Gore.

According to Common, every country in Latin America will benefit from Chile’s event as investors get to know the prospects of launching a business in the region.

“Common opened the door between North America and South America. There is a sense of excitement in the Chilean start-up community. The leaders who joined the start up community paved the way for an influx of smaller companies,” said Andrea Guendelman from NorthSur Inc, a company that has partnered with the Common for organizing the event.

The event is sponsored by two government agencies: Imagen de Chile and Corfo and Pro Chile.

Are these events raising Chile’s profile abroad as a hub for enterprise? And are they inspiring Chileans to start their own businesses? Analysts say it is too early to answer those questions.

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Following the Start-Up Chile, Google Inc, the American search engine giant, set up a data center in Santiago. For Chile, the fundamental aim is to become a tech hub, attracting entrepreneurs like Google.

Common and the Chilean government have shortlisted technology sectors they need to focus on, and topping their list is application development sector. Therefore, firms in the technology sector should monitor the start-up activities in Chile in order to scout the organizations with the most promising business models.

Philippe Koutchenkov

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