“Chilecon Valley” & the Rise of Latin American Entrepreneurs

The Economist has a piece about the rapid growth of entrepreneurial culture in Latin America, particularly in Chile.  The one unsettling aspect of this development–many of the start-up companies are being imported from the United States:

“Start-Up Chile” is the brainchild of Nicolas Shea, a Chilean businessman who had a brief stint in government. The programme selects promising young firms and gives their founders the equivalent of $40,000 and a year’s visa to come and work on their ideas in Chile. Since 2010, when Start-Up Chile started, some 500 companies and almost 900 entrepreneurs from a total of 37 countries have taken part. Start-Up Chile has doled out money to Chileans, too (see chart).

Mr Shea says he was inspired by his experience in America, where he studied at Stanford University, a wellspring of high-tech start-ups. “I saw smart people being kicked out of the United States because they couldn’t get visas to stay,” he says. “And I thought: why not bring some of them to Chile?”

Like several other countries, including Brazil and Mexico, Chile wants to establish itself as the entrepreneurial hub of Latin America. It has launched government-funded seed-capital programmes to back local start-ups and made it easier to set up a new company swiftly. Via Start-Up Chile it has also been importing foreign entrepreneurs, in the hope that they will inspire homegrown ones.

You can read the full post here.

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