Innovation in the South
Start-Up Chile’s Horacio Melo reveals program’s inner workings
In an interview with French start-up blog Rude Baguette, Start-Up Chile’s executive director explains how the program is benefiting Chile.
Friday, April 05, 2013
Horacio Melo, the executive director of Start-Up Chile. Photo by Start-Up Chile/Facebook.
The Chilean government’s innovative funding program, Start-Up Chile, offers early-stage businesses that qualify US$ 40,000 to begin their company on Chilean soil. And now, just three years after the program’s pilot round, Start-Up Chile is now attracting more entrepreneurs than ever.
In a recent interview with the executive director of Start-Up Chile Horacio Melo, a journalist for French startup blog Rude Baguette, Liam Boogar, explained why a program such as this was so appealing to the French start-up community.
“Life’s tough for a French entrepreneur – you get treated like a pigeon, they try to move your ecosystem to the suburbs, they raise taxes on all your investors, and the media mocks you,” Boogar wrote. “Sometimes it seems like it would be easier to move to another city… What about Santiago?”
While it’s clear that Start-Up Chile offers amazing opportunities for foreigners looking to jumpstart projects that they might not have found funding for otherwise, in his interview with Rude Baguette, Melo made it clear that the initiative is a mutually beneficial one.
“The SUPers [Start-Up Chile participants] have raised more than US$ 20 million, and have hired hundreds of Chileans,” Melo said. “They have organized more than 500 meetups in Chile (which help a lot regarding our goal of changing the culture) more than 1600 workshops, and have invested more than 1400 hours on mentoring Chilean entrepreneurs.”
Start-Up Chile requires that the founder of each company selected for the program must spend at least six months in Chile. This measure aims to further develop Chile’s entrepreneurial culture.
“We need Chileans to be inclined to innovation, to embrace risk and failure, and not to be afraid of making their businesses go global,” he explained. “This is where the Start-Up Chile entrepreneurs come in: we ask them to spend some of their time helping us impact and change the local culture, making it more entrepreneurship-oriented.”
To learn more about Start-Up Chile and for more information about applying for funding, visit the organization’s website.