Chileans get creative in innovation contest

Universidad Austral is offering to grow startups in the field of biotechnology through an intense, international incubator program.

A Chilean university is launching a competition to recognize and develop innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of biotechnology in the country’s southern regions.

Based in the Andean nation’s Los Ríos Region, Universidad Austral de Chile has thrown open its doors to creativity and business smarts with the Austral BIO Challenge under the tagline “Innovate from the south to the world.”

Projects will be aided by the Austral Incuba business incubator and focus principally on the areas of agro-industry, food production, aquaculture and forestry.

Open to Chilean residents and non-residents alike —  as well as foreign nationals based in the country — the contest’s application deadline is Jan. 12. To apply visit the Austral Incuba website.

The winning projects will be entered into the Regata e+, an intensive Austral Incuba program focused on business management designed to maximize the startup’s potential.

The prize itself is twofold: a three month trip to the US to attend the IC2 Institute of the University of Texas, Austin and the chance to participate in the Bio International Convention to be held later this year. Following this and upon their return to Chile, the winning innovators will participate in a separate course dedicated to growing their business and benefiting from connections and networking with similar bio-entrepreneurs.

“With this approach we make sure these bio-business grow and project their potential onto an international audience, adding value to the project and projecting it from the south to the world,” said Austral Incuba manager, Macarena Saéz.

2013 was designated the “year of innovation” in Chile. The country enjoyed a range of events to promote entrepreneurship and the continuation of the lauded Start-up Chile program, encouraging business to grow in the Andean nation.