Start-Up Chile is a program of the Chilean Government, created by the Ministry of Economy, executed by CORFO via InnovaChile, that seeks to attract foreign, high-potential entrepreneurs to come to Chile to bootstrap their businesses with the end goal of converting Chile into the innovation and entrepreneurial hub of Latin America. This is a general mission of the recently inaugurated government and is the primary focus of the Ministry of Economy.

Members of the Startup Chile program, along with the Chilean Minister of the Economy, took a trip across the US to try to recruit startups when the program started last year. They went to Stanford and Berkeley and met with Vivek Wadhwa and Mike Arrington of Tech Crunch.  They met Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook and countless valley VCs.  Next, they crossed the country to talk with entrepreneurs in Boston and NYC

The program provides $40k, co-working space, introductions to a wide range of local and international business & investment contacts, and support for all the logistical issues required for moving to a new country. Companies do not have to focus on the Latin American market, hire Chileans, or stay in the country after the grant runs out.

Unlike Y-Combinator and TechStars, this funding requires 0% of your equity. Incentives are absolutely aligned, since they want more participants in the program and they want their teams to succeed, but they do not take a financial position.

The selected entrepreneurs must pass through a rigorous examination process conducted by Silicon Valley experts and a Chilean Innovation board that focuses ardently on global mindsets and worldwide potential.All of the Start-Up Chile entrepreneurs will be measured, during their time in the program, by various indicators including participation in local events, presenting workshops on their particular expertise, raising local or international capital, and contracting talent.

StartUp Chile has cultivated relationships with an advisory board in San Francisco and with several funds. Some members of the program have been funded by US VCs and angels in the past and they’ve been very willing to provide introductions.

This sounds attractive, give it a try or inform a friend who may consider applying to the program. Teams do not have to be from Chile, have a Chilean founder, focus on the Chilean market, or stay in Chile past the end of the program.

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