In 2010 the government of Chile decided to launch the boldest, craziest government program ever: offer entrepreneurs from all over the world u$d 40,000 investment equity-free, work visas and free infrastructure to start a company. What is the catch? You only have to move to Chile for at least 6 months and give back to the country by fostering entrepreneurship in the region. As crazy as it sounds the program is having a terrific impact in the country by creating jobs, attracting talent and making of Chile a worldwide recognized innovation hub. I was lucky to be part of the first generation of entrepreneurs selected by Startup Chile, and from there I started my company WeHostels, a mobile travel startup for booking budget accommodations. We went on to raise u$d1.2M of VC investment and at the end of last year we were acquired by StudentUniverse, the largest online travel agency for students and youth. If you are wondering if you should move to “the end of the world” to start your company, here are some reason (illustrated with GIFs, we all love them) in case you still don’t get it. :)
1. When you become part of the “Startup Chile Mafia” you have a ally from every country in the world
More than 1,400 entrepreneurs from more than 110 different countries have already passed through Startup Chile. This community, that some of us refer friendly to it as the “SUPPER Mafia”, represents a diverse powerful network distributed all over the world. You rather wanna be on right side my friend.
2. The natural wonders of Patagonia will inspire the heck out of your entrepreneurial brain
Sure, Chile is at “the end of the world” you may say. But surrounding yourself with the amazing landscapes and natural wonders of Patagonia might inspire the most genius ideas out of your little entrepreneurial brain.
3. Chile is one of the most business-friendly countries in the world
4. LatAm is one of the fastest growing global markets and you can tap into it from a strategic point
Latin America is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and as such entails a lot of interesting opportunities. If you are interested in building a company for the LatAm market, Chile can be a strategic starting point.
5. u$d 40,000 in your pocket (equity-free) won’t hurt when starting a new business
It won’t. Just make sure you invest it wisely. Cash flow is the blood of your business my friend.
6. You will get to work on the most futuristic office space that you’ve ever seen
7. You will be able to tap into the Latin American talent of awesome developers and designers
8. You will get to learn a new (sexy) language
You will get to learn Spanish, one of the most spoken (and some say most sexy) languages in the world, with even some South American slangs. Who knows what endless doors this might open in your future.
So there you go. Startup Chile might be the perfect catalyst to bring your startup to the next level, while in the meantime having the time of your life. So go ahead and apply to the program before it’s too late. Now be aware of one thing you might be told upon arrival: dream big, or go home.