Start-Up Chile and Other Adventures

The world is becoming a smaller and smaller place. This idea especially holds true for those with an entrepreneurial bent. The economic system of the world is changing, and one of they key features in this new world order is “countries” competing for talent on a global level. Estonia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, Chile, Mongolia and more are all on the fast-track to increasing prosperity. They are attempting to attract foreign interest (and money) through various incentive programs, lower taxes, easy residency requirements, and more. That is where Start-Up Chile comes in.

Struttin' in Lithuania

Struttin’ in Lithuania

I was somewhat familiar with Start-Up Chile before reading the “Move your Start-Up to Chile-con Valley” article on ReadWriteWeb.com. I follow a website called SovereignMan.com, and I attended an entrepreneurial, free-market themed “camp” or seminar in Lithuania over the summer. I was one of fifty or sixty people accepted, out of 600+ that applied. The host of the camp, and of SovereignMan.com, is Simon Black. He talks a lot about Chile on his website, and even about a farm down there to start a “sustainable community.” All this to say that The idea of Start-up Chile program is of particular interest to me because I have been exposed to a significant amount of information about Chile and the program.

The article itself was short and to the point. It focused on the experience of Steve Davis and the co-founders of CruiseWise.com, an online booking agency. The Start-up Chile program fast tracks Chile’s already minmal immigration requirements, and if you have a “worthy” idea, such as Cruisewise, then you get can money for it. Davis and co. got about $40,000, though I have been told by people in the know that you can potentially get $50,000.

The government in Chile is seeking to attract foreign talent and investors through the Start-Up Chile program. David explains that they weren’t just handed $40,000- it came in the form of monthly reimbursements. One third of the funding went into living expenses. Yet Davis said if “we’d had to bootstrap it, I don’t know if we could have done it.” While Davis had a positive experience, not having forty grand as a lump sum is a criticism Start-Up Chile receives from some participants (according to the article).

The idea of getting financial backing for an idea in a foreign country is appealing to me. The downside to of Start-Up Chile for me would be the idea of getting start-up funds from a government. Besides that philosophical or ethical dilemma,  it is a great idea. Chile is one of the places I am considering to try to find (or make) work after I graduate. Due to the fact I am focusing on learning Portuguese and not Spanish, I haven’t been thinking about it as much lately. However, the article on ReadWriteWeb is reminding me to consider Start-Up Chile again. Who knows what the future will bring; on that note, this is a quote I appreciated on the Start-Up Chile website:

“Instead of changing the world through revolution, we can change the world through #innovation”

—Former Minister of Economy, Juan Andrés Fontaine

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