Chile hosts South America’s first Entrepreneur Week

The three-day event drew delegates to Santiago from around the world, confirming Chile’s reputation as a hub for early-stage businesses.

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Hundreds of emerging business leaders from around the world have converged on Chile this week for  South America’s first ever Entrepreneur Week.

The global business exchange brings together aspiring and early-stage business owners in a bid to equip them with useful training, skills and experience to help them transform their ideas into solid companies.

Delegates at Chile Entrepreneur Week had the chance to participate in a breakfast discussion with Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera, as well as hearing from Michael Ellsberg, the acclaimed author of The Education of Millionaires.

Other highlights from the three-day program included a keynote presentation from Sisha Orturar and Jeffrey Zurkofsky, the founders of Wichcraft, a thriving New York cafe chain that used clever approaches to withstand the economic downturn, and a dynamic panel session on the inherent risks of entrepreneurship, featuring Fernando Nilo, the founder of Recycla.

Away from the main sessions, conference participants also had an afternoon of sightseeing, taking in the Concha y Toro vineyard along with Santiago’s Pueblo Los Dominicos and Cerro San Cristobal.

Entrepreneur Week began in New York and Denver three years ago but this year the organizers were looking to expand the event around the world,” said Entrepreneur Week founder, Gary Whitehill.

“Furthermore and more importantly in my opinion, its important to me that we built a business around a valuable asset anyone can benefit from: an education.”

Given these circumstances, Chile was an obvious choice to host the event. In the last few years the Andean nation has developed a strong reputation for fostering new business prospects, thanks largely to the work of the government’s Economic Development Agency (Corfo) and its Start-Up Chile project.

Launched in 2010, Start-Up Chile seeks to attract early stage, high-potential entrepreneurs to Chile where they receive funding and support to develop their ideas.

Successful applicants are given a US$40,000 grant and a one-year work visa, along with multiple opportunities to network and collaborate with experienced business people and venture capitalists.

Work is also currently underway to develop a brand new business hub for entrepreneurs in Santiago.