Harvard Business Hosts Start-Up Chile


Last week, Steve from CruiseWise visited his Alma Mater, Harvard Business School, to give a presentation about Start-Up Chile to eager students interested in following the footsteps of CruiseWise and the other 24 teams here in Chile.  There were nearly 30 alumni present from various student-run organizations such as the Energy & Environment Club, the Social Entrepreneurship Club, the Entrepreneurship Club, the TechMedia Club, the Latin America Club, and the Latino Student Club.

While giving a short presentation about the details of the program, Steve, joined by Diego May, CEO of Junar (the second team to arrive to Chile), expounded upon the unique experience of bootstrapping a business in Chile and how their company’s have drastically advanced during their short time with Start-Up Chile.  The pair was also joined by Nicolas Ibanez and Joseph Nejman from Tomorrow Ventures, helping to field some of the inquiries.

They were answering questions for nearly an hour after their presentation, most boiling down to the following inquiries:

“Do you need to be Chilean to be part of the program?”
“Do you need to focus on the Chilean market?”
“Why is the Chilean government doing this?”
“What strings are attached to the funding?”
“What have been the best parts of the program?”

To follow up a bit, we’d like to offer the responses corresponding to those questions.  Firstly, you do not have to be Chilean to participate.  In fact, you cannot participate if you are a resident of Chile and, currently, the 25 teams in Chile represent 14 different nationalities.  We enthusiastically encourage diversity.  Second, the idea of Start-Up Chile is to attract globally thinking business to Chile– it is fundamental that those who apply to the program be oriented towards the global market, focusing on expansion, not isolation.

Next, the Chilean Government has created Start-Up Chile in hopes of converting Chile into the innovation hub of Latin America, also with the desire to inspire local entrepreneurs to conceive their businesses, again, by thinking globally.  Participating in the program does not incur any strings attached.  Equity is not asked for, which has turned out to be one of the more attractive aspects of Start-Up Chile.   One of the few obligations is the the participating teams interact with the local entrepreneurship and innovative ecosystem by attending events, holding workshops, etc.  Finally, the best parts of the program are numerous– the inspiring synergies between participating teams and the local community, the jobs that are created, the advancements that are made, and the essential tools that are provided to the team in order to ensure their success.  CruiseWise put it best when they said: “Chile is taking this program very seriously. In two weeks we were able to create a network here which has already proven itself. The caliber of the people who are opening doors for us cannot be matched in our own home countries.”

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