Monday, March 10, 2014

EMBA 26: Want to be an entrepreneur? Learning about Start Up Chile.

If you have an idea which has been pulling at you and always wanted to start a small company, then, Chile could be the place for you! The Boston University EMBA cohort visited Start Up Chile on Monday, March 10th during the international field seminar.

Start Up Chile was created by the Chilean government. An independent third party, Corfo, monitors the program through InnovaChile. The program provide $40,000 USD of capital (equity free) for entrepreneurs with winning ideas, a one year visit to Chile, office support, and access to Chile’s social and capital networks. Budding entrepreneurs go through a rigorous selection process. Two elements of the selection process are a global focus on the projects and a business plan focused on expansion. In return these entrepreneurs must have projects which start in Chile, last at least six months, and they must spend time teaching Chileans the art of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The BU EMBA team met a team of three from California. Their company Bureo Skateboards, used old fishing drag nets made of nylon. They were able to take someone’s trash and turn it into money. The nets were the raw material which was then ground and used to make recycled skateboards. It’s a win for the environment, the end consumer, and of course Bureo. They believe they can get their marginal cost for their cruiser skateboard down to $10 USD. These cruiser boards typical sell for $90 to 150 USD.

Start Up Chile began in 2010 with a pilot program of 22 start ups attracted from outside of Chile. In 2011, the program went live when they brought 87 start ups from 30 countries, from a total of over 600 applicants. Currently, there are over 650 start ups competing for 100 spots.

Start Up Chile’s goal is to invigorate the entrepreneurial spirit in Chileans. They are well on their way. So, if you have a great idea, think about taking it down to Chile to commercialize and earn some money on the way.

--Greg Montemurro

Greg was part of the mining team. He currently works for Keurig, Inc. as Senior Director of Manufacturing Operations. 

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