Chile will welcome 154 new business start-ups to Santiago

Entrepreneurs involved in the government program will receive a US$40,000 grant along with a 12-month work visa to develop their ideas.

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Chile is one step closer to its goal of becoming an innovation hub as Start-Up Chile announces the 154 new businesses selected to take part in the program’s second round.

Coordinated by InnovaChile, the innovation arm of the Chilean government’s Economic Development Agency (Corfo), the program seeks to attract entrepreneurs with promising business ideas to the South American nation.

Successful applicants are awarded 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.

The latest round of start-up businesses, which were chosen from over 650 applications, are set to arrive in Chile between November 2011 and January 2012.

The new program participants come from 33 different countries and several have links to prestigious educational institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, the London School of Economics and the Indian Institute of Technology.

The country with the biggest representation in the latest round is the United States, followed by Chile, Canada, Great Britain and Argentina.

Almost 40 percent of the start-up businesses joining the program are involved in information technology (IT) and software development, while another 35 percent are developing ideas related to e-commerce and trade.

Other participants are working on projects around mobile and wireless technology, social issues, energy production and clean technology.

Start-Up Chile has been very well received by the international entrepreneurship community,” said the program’s Executive Director Jean Boudeguer. “Chile is truly becoming a global innovation hub.”

Each of the entrepreneurs involved in the program were approved following a rigorous evaluation process led by venture capitalists, industry experts and representatives from InnovaChile.

More than 110 start-up businesses are already involved in the Start-Up Chile program, which hopes to draw 1,000 innovative, early-stage businesses to Chile by 2014.