The team at Legal Fácil got deeply involved with one of the most remarkable Chilean traditions: Teletón, a national event to support children with special needs. Learn more about it on their piece below!
It is impossible to be in Santiago in November and not notice the Teletón: the cars with the ‘Teletón [heart]’ on the back window; the pro-Teletón graffiti; the stickers everywhere. At of course that ubiquitous face on everything Teletón: Don Francisco himself.
For foreign entrepreneurs who are guests in Chile, as part of Start-Up Chile, this was a mystery at first. What is this? Why do they say ‘puro corazón’ everywhere? It was one of the mysteries floating around the Start-Up Chile offices, among the entrepreneurs there.
But it turned out to be one of the easier mysteries to solve. Although the full power of it didn’t really resonate until, November 30th: the night of the Teletón itself. It was a spectacle that was not intended for non-Chileans but we are here and we absorbed it—and we loved it.
The Teletón showed us a side of Chile that outsiders don’t know, but we, as inside-outsiders, got a glimpse of: the unity behind a common goal, and a wonderful goal at that: bringing together the poor to the rich, and doing so with humor (as Stefan Kramer’s imitation of Don Francisco showed!).
Start-Up Chile never asked us to support the Teletón nor to participate in any way. But, spontaneously among the participants, from every corner of the globe from Verona to New York, we got together to raise money to support the Teletón. Coordinated only on Saturday morning December 1st, we organized the founders of multiple international companies to raise money for the Teletón, to show the support of the companies of Start-Up Chile. Each of us went over to a Banco de Chile stand, to deposit the money there, and all together we spent the night celebrating the Teletón, watching the finale, in Flannery’s, in Providencia. It was a privilege for us to participate and contribute money to the Teletón. We even translated the omnipresent hymn into English (twenty-four five hundred o-three!); perhaps in two years, we will make a Youtube video!
The Teletón, to us, represents what we’ve seen of the best of Chile—and it is uniquely Chilean in the most wonderful of ways: we don’t think that such a powerful event uniting everyone so positively could happen anywhere else; there is certainly nothing like it in the USA of today, long a changed country form the USA of a half-century ago that inspired the original Teletón. Of course, there are sometimes challenges we’ve faced, mysteries that are harder to crack than Who Is Don Francisco? Sometimes we face bureaucracies; sometimes a bit more theft than we’re accustomed to; sometimes the small size of everything makes it more challenging to find the right skill sets or partners.
But, for many of us, the positives outweigh the negatives, and many of us who are working hard to build new companies and build new industries and create new jobs and opportunities, and create world-class companies from Chile, are honored to be invited into Chile and would love to stay and keep Chile as the permanent home of our international corporations. In spite of any unsolved mysteries, Chile, in our opinion, has created an environment in which we thrive and we love, and that we can use as the launching pad for businesses that touch the entire world.
The role of the immigrant is a privilege, and one that demands great respect and gratitude and comes with many responsibilities. And one of our ways of showing our gratitude towards Chile is through building great, international companies here and creating jobs here—while also building on the best Chilean customs, the Teletón. Start-Up Chile, Puro Corazón.