The Chilean Government realizes that the future of the country is tied to it becoming the technology hub of Latin America. According to Vivek Wadhwa, an entrepreneur turned academic, Chile could "morph into the new land of opportunity for immigrants in general and export-centric tech entrepreneurs" (TechCrunch).

Chile has created many incentives for people to invest within the country. The government has laid out why it believes Chile is a great place to invest. On it's website,, the top 10 reasons to invest in Chile are:

If you invest $500,000 USD over 5 years, you will receive a visa and can stay permanently in the country. Business plans that involve software and high tech products can almost be assured that their business plan will be accepted. Chile is even creating incentives for potential investors to explore the country, giving you up to $30,000 to see if the country is right for your business. If you launch your company in Chile, the government will give you $30,000, and if you work in a government tech center, 5 years of your rent will be paid.

Chile also helps entrepreneurs train their workers, awarding up to $25,000 for training costs if you hire Chileans. Chile also will subsidize your efforts to bring in talent from other countries and pay 40% or up to $2 million if you decide to buy land and build offices in the country. Visas are more or less guaranteed for workers in high tech jobs.

Start-Up Chile

In 2010, the Chilean Government created a program called Start-Up Chile 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" (Start-Up Chile).

Start-Up Chile offers selected teams access to a network of mentors, weekly networking events and a $40,000 grant per project. Start-Up Chile also provides teams with a 1-year resident visa and a temporary workspace.

In the 2010, the pilot phase of the program, 23 teams from around the world came to Chile to start their globally minded tech-oriented businesses. Start-Up Chile believes "the route to success is via expansion not isolation." In 2011, the goal is to have 300 participants, and by 2014 Start-Up Chile hopes to attract 1,000 participants.

In 2011, South By Southwest hosted a Chile Technology Summit. Nathan Lustig, the moderator of the talk said that "just about everyone I met had heard of Start-Up Chile." Lustig said that Statup Chile should be viewed as a success for the "simple fact that almost every VC, angle, entrepreneuer and social media person knew of Chile and the program. Last year I bet only 5% of SXSW attendees would have know[n] anything about Chile. Add that to the fact that our $40,000, at least half will be going directly back into the Chilean economy...Chile is making its money back".

Policy Recommendations

In 2002, the Department of Human Development of The World Bank published an article titled "Chile - Science, Technology and Innovation." This publication analyzed the factors that are helping and hurting Chile's innovative "capacity". It specifically looks at the economic environment and how it affects science, technology and innovation (STI) in Chile. The report concluded with policy recommendations. Since the publication of this report, Chile has done a tremendous job of finding solutions to these problems.

The report recommended that Chile should develop the venture capital market and promote innovative entrepreneurship. Chile has done well in regards to these recommendations. The program Start-Up Chile and the attractive business environment in the country have created an incredible growth of innovation.

The report also recommended that Chilean government should create a linkage between national R&D institutions and private industry. This will allow private companies to reduce their research cost and benefit from government R&D. The Chilean government should continue to make Chile a friendly business environment, create incentives for innovation, and give private companies the tools they need to succeed in Chile.

Authors: Alvin Heng, Justin Heermann, Chamal Samaranayake, & Lilly Sath