After arriving to Santiago before dawn on Wednesday, August 25th, Amit and Nicolas, the first entrepreneurs to be selected by Start-Up Chile, have had few moments of rests or reflection. Meetings and events have had their schedules packed yet with nothing less than VIP treatment. As participants of Start-Up Chile, they receive personalized attention that many would love to attain, especially when dealing with such formalities as obtaining temporary visas, bank accounts, and specialized legal advice from some of the best professionals in the industry.
Not much after having touched ground on Chilean soil, they were up and running. The same Wednesday as they arrived, they had lunch with the Start-Up Chile team from CORFO and the Ministry of Economy, getting to know each other over fresh Chilean seafood and a far too delicious dessert. Later that day, Amit and Nicolas had the privilege of passing through the Chilean immigration Office after all others had been and gone. No 6:00 AM lines to slump through, rather a specialized service that allowed them to attain their temporary visa, RUT number, and register with the InterPol in less than an hour. Kudos to the mobile Registro Civil and the Extranjería, they really went above and beyond.
Thursday turned out to be a full day as well, and it couldn’t have started any better than with coffee with the Chilean Minister of Economy, Juan Andrés Fontaine. Coincidentally, we caught him just as he was leaving a meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to Chile, David Dadonn, with whom Amit had an instant connection. It must have been nice to speak in Hebrew after long days of Spanish and English 🙂 They moved on to the Minister’s office where they talked about the burgeoning cruise services being offered specifically in Latin America and the advantages and challenges of this particular travel medium Amit and Nicolas are taking on with their business, CruiseWise. Being welcomed to Chile by the Minister was an incredible honor and certainly not something all entrepreneurs can say they’ve done. Well done guys!
Following the busy morning schedule was the bank account creation with Scotiabank who gave Amit and Nicolas, again, the preferential treatment Start-Up Chile has come to procure. With their expedited visas, they were able to open accounts with far less red tape than usually required for foreigners. Options were discussed as to how to disperse the $40,000 subsidy that they will receive and the strength of the bond between the two entrepreneurs was obvious. It is a complicated issue, but they breezed through it without a blink of the eye.
Now, off to work they went. And after a long day at the office, they wound down with a group of Stanford classmates and their personal mentor assigned to them for the duration of their stay in Chile. A traditional Chilean dinner at Liguria of pastel de jaiba, empanadas, and a pisco sour filled their stomachs, quenched their thirst, and energized them for Friday.
Today was kicked off with a personalized, detailed presentation given by the Guerrero Olivos Novoa Errázuriz Lawfirm about how to conduct a business here in Chile and the various manners in which they can create their entity. Subcontracting, incorporating, salaries, and taxes were just some of the topics of conversation after Amit and Nicolas explained to the panel of lawyers their business plan and notions of CruiseWise. Everyone hit it off and exchanged information to have a celebratory beer once CruiseWise has launched.
Later, Amit and Nicolas met Cristobal Philippi, the CEO of SOFOFA, the Chilean Federation of Industry. They talked about tourism in Chile and the dynamism of India and China, among various other topics that came up while having a late morning coffee.
Having met so many powerful people, complete so many tasks, and being surrounded by Spanish, their third language, in such a short time, Amit and Nicolas must be exhausted. The weekend came just in time.
Keep up to date as they begin to form their business and meet with Venture Capitalists as well as meet their fellow colleagues of Start-Up Chile who will be arriving within the next couple of weeks.