Start-Up Chile Research

Adelaida Diaz-Roa
6 min readMar 30, 2019


From their Website:

  • The initial objective of the program was to position the country as the most important innovation hub in Latin America. To lead the way by attracting international entrepreneurs and transform local entrepreneurial culture to become more global.
  • Our model influenced the creation of 50 entrepreneurship programs across the world. However Malaysia, Brazil, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Peru and South Korea directly replicated our model. Similarly to our networks it is important for us to collaborate with other entrepreneurship programs so that together we can influence change.
  • Start-Up Chile launched with a mandate to attract foreign entrepreneurs to the local consumer market and foment domestic entrepreneurial culture.
  • Since 2010, over 9,700 articles have been published about Start-Up Chile. More than 7,500 articles were featured in the international press and more than 2,200 published by the Chilean media. This amount of consistent media coverage shows that Start-Up Chile is both a disruptive public policy and a first mover in entrepreneurship to which audiences worldwide are interested in.
  • “Now, thanks to Start-Up Chile a true startup ecosystem has been born, with every main university in Chile offering its own masters in entrepreneurship and many start-up events and entrepreneurship festivals” -Huffington Post, US 2016
  • it is the culture that ensures the availability of an adequate pool of entrepreneurially oriented individuals. You need to first change the culture so that all actors can sit and do business.
  • Receiving in between 200–250 companies a year.
  • Founders Lab to give back to Chile:

From Flip-side of Startup Chile:

  • The main objective of Startup Chile is to raise the entrepreneurial spirit in the country (RVA — Return Value Agenda). To do this, they actually need startuppers, and the grant is a lure for them.
  • To account for the first half of the grant and to get the second, you need to score a certain number of RVA points, which are given for workshops and lectures to local students, coaching local entrepreneurs. At the lectures you’ll have to tell about your experience in entrepreneurship, to teach how to create IT projects, find clients, program, or other issues that may be related to entrepreneurship and startup creation. These very points, and not your project development, will interest Startup Chile administration most.

From Start-Up Chile’s Impact 2010–2018: Inside The Revolutionary Startup Accelerator:

  • Start-Up Chile was launched in 2010 by the Chilean government, through its development agency CORFO(Corporación de Fomento de la Producción de Chile). It was conceived as a means of changing the Chilean mindset and culture surrounding entrepreneurship, and developing Chile into a technology entrepreneurship hub within Latin America. It was also founded to increase Chile’s international business profile and recognition from abroad.
  • up to US$80,000 equity-free as well as a working visa, office space, trainings, and access to the SUP community.
  • it has been credited as the inspiration behind public accelerator programs in over 50 countries including: Argentina (IncuBAte), Peru (Startup Peru), Mexico (Startup Mexico), Brazil (Start-Up Brazil), Malaysia (MaGIC), Jamaica (Start Up Jamaica), South Korea (K-Startup Grand Challenge), and many more.
  • In contrast, many public accelerators (even those drawing from the SUP model) limit their programs to companies based in the program country, and even go so far as to limit the geography of applicants to a specific state or region. Others place restrictions on hiring locals versus foreigners.
  • Start-Up Chile’s diversity has instilled a global mindset in its portfolio companies. The program operates entirely in English, and while participants are encouraged to build a presence for their businesses in Chile, they are also encouraged to think beyond the country and even region. It should also be noted that SUP has always been willing to share its methodology and approach and partner with other countries looking to use public startup acceleration to promote entrepreneurship domestically.
  • In many ways, SUP is insulated from the rest of the Chilean government and operates as a separate entity — in the words of Sebastian Diaz, “an independent republic of the government.” This helps avoid issues that arise from differences in the way and the speed at which things are done in startups versus in government.
  • As Sebastian Sichel, Executive Vice President of CORFO, noted: “Start-Up Chile has managed to get the best from the private and public sectors and engage it all in benefit of the entrepreneurs. While being a CORFO program, we have been [careful] to safeguard its public policy definition [so that it is] seen as a country effort more than a particular government’s effort.” In other words, by framing SUP as a state policy rather than a government policy, and securing the buy-in of the Chilean people, SUP is not as susceptible to changes in the government or its policies.
  • SUP’s grants are provided using taxpayer dollars and therefore a heightened level of accountability of responsibility is attached.
  • On the other hand, many other countries that have replicated the SUP model have attempted to copy-and-paste it rather than taking the time upfront to adapt it to their government structures and markets. Without a proper and customized model from which to execute, these public accelerators are swallowed up in the convolution of government bureaucracy. Whether it be requiring foreigners to jump through countless hoops to secure a visa, or placing substantial restrictions on how grant money can be spent, most public accelerators de facto function more as government agencies as opposed to startup programs.
  • From the start, SUP’s goals were not tied to valuations or sales, but rather to altering the Chilean view of entrepreneurship, and creating an entrepreneurial hub of talented and motivated individuals and teams. This perspective liberates the program and its companies from many of the short-term pressures associated with startups and allows them to grow properly.
  • SUP’s offer is equity-free. Additionally, companies receive mentorship, entrepreneurship training, and importantly become part of a global network. This network includes over 4,500 alumni globally, 60+ private investors and venture capital funds globally, more than 160 national and multinational companies and public organizations, 100+ worldwide partners ranging from accelerators and universities to regional government agencies, and more than 260 active mentors.
  • as Nathan Lustig recognized, even looking on a smaller scale solely at the individuals who participated in the program, the amount they have since invested in the country financially and otherwise far exceeds the amount they were granted.
  • in 2016, the program refreshed its goals and shifted from a focus on culture and creating a startup ecosystem to impacting socio-economic growth in Chile through startups.


Steps should be followed to do a similar program are:

  1. Specify the goal: Establishing innovative culture in country.
  2. Organize the Board and Team: Board of program should be internationally recognized people and Funds should be under their control. This prevents many doubts about the selection process. Team should be open -minded and engaged the values of the program.
  3. Choose the target group: In the stage of factor driven or transition from factor driven to innovative stage in a country, program may invite entrepreneur worldwide, if it is still endowment driven country, program may gather local or neighborhood countries (Porter, 1998).
  4. Choose the location: should near to Tech-industry, Universities, Air transportation.
  5. Determine the funding conditions: Funding amount should be enough to attract entrepreneurs. Founders must stay during the period of funding. Create an environment for tolerance failure. Make very clean about the terms and application process.
  6. Spillover: organize the conference, lectures and meetings by inviting university students, local entrepreneurs, and invited guest from top-notch guests.

From Start-Up Chile: A Critical Analysis:

  • Wadhwa suggested that the logic behind the initiative was threefold: 1) some of the entrepreneurs who set up in Chile would fall in love with the country and decide to stay; 2) the simple presence of foreign entrepreneurs would teach would-be Chilean entrepreneurs about global markets; and 3) the tech community would develop more robust links with the outside world.