These last weeks there has been a heavy debate amongst Danish entrepreneurs about the Danish conditions for entrepreneurship – Martin Thorborg’s fiery critique of the so-called entrepreneurship tax and the Gus Murray case being the most noticeable. Meanwhile, in Chile the government has taken a very different approach towards entrepreneurship – an ambitious project aiming to transform Chile into the entrepreneurship hub of Latin America.
From Brain-Drain to Entrepreneurship Hub
As many other developing countries Chile has historically experienced young talent leaving the country resulting in a serious brain-drain. In an effort to reverse this negative development the Chilean government has launched the project Start-up Chile. The project aims to attract world-class early stage entrepreneurs to start their business in Chile with the end-goal of transforming Chile into the entrepreneurship hub of Latin America and changing the Chilean mindset by fostering a new entrepreneurial spirit through success stories.
Goal: 800.000 New Jobs by 2014
With this project Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera, has set the ambitious goal of creating 100,000 new businesses and 800,000 new jobs by 2014. A pilot project that ran in 2010 gathered 23 teams from all around the world. The teams where each given a 1-year visa and a $40,000 subsidy. The goal for 2011 is to get 300 participants, and by the culmination in 2014 to have 1,000 participating in the project. In this way the project is also a network experiment. The thought is that the entrepreneurs will bring their network and link it to Chile while they participate in the project. The project therefore puts great effort into linking the visiting entrepreneurs to the local society; i.e. universities, incubators and local startups. In this way Chile strives to become a network center of entrepreneurial persons and companies.
Lessons to Learn
There has been a lot of talk about how to export the success of Silicon Valley to other countries and cultures with never-ending debates about whether or not the Silicon Valley culture can be imitated. Start-up Chile is truly one of the most interesting initiatives attempting to actually create this type of environment in a country otherwise hesitant towards entrepreneurship, where thinking big is frowned upon, a mindset that we can recognize in our own Danish culture where the fear of failure often prevents us from trying. It will be very interesting to see how Start-up Chile manages to achieve these ambitious goals, and hopefully the spillover effect of the project will influence other countries with the same entrepreneurial aspirations, maybe even as far north as Denmark, where a change of attitude is certainly needed!
What do you think – would an initiative like this make sense in a Danish setting? What would it take?