Latin America's Startup Programs

October 20, 2016

When the public hears about technology startups, the two known names are Silicon Valley and New York City.  This may change. In the last few years, several Latin American countries have been advancing their start-up programs for companies near and far. The countries creating startup programs are offering grants for companies in the science and technology fields. Different programs are available in many countries, including: Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador. These startup programs are important for young entrepreneurs in the technology and science fields in Latin America, as well as the governments that sponsor the companies. As individual companies benefit , this opportunity could make a difference for the whole country.  Introducing technology startup programs could influence the consumer market in each country, aid the job market, and boost the economy. Introducing new companies with a solid business plan can change the whole market in Latin America. As seen in the United States, many companies started from very little. Consider Apple, for example: Steve Jobs started his company in a garage, now it is an enormous and profitable company which employs over 600,000 people. Big companies, such as Apple or Google, help both the economy and the job market. The same could happen in Latin America. With startup programs, as seen in Brazil or Chile, an economic and job market shift could become a reality.  Local economies in Latin America and the United States have called for entrepreneurs of any socio-economic background. 

Of the countries hosting the startup programs, each are approaching them a  bit differently. Some countries, such as Chile, are trying to expand entrepreneurship  internationally, as well as nationally. Chile is not limiting their search for national entrepreneurs, but is inviting  international ones to bring their startups to Chile in exchange for opportune business contacts. Some of the startup companies are from Singapore, Canada, and New Zealand, who all have traveled to Chile to start building their companies. Chile’s ultimate goal is to become more innovative and be a technology hub similar to Silicon Valley. Other countries, such as Brazil, are keeping their startup programs local, with the belief that this  will benefit their country more directly because there is less of a chance that the startup will leave the country.

In 2010, Chile’s first year of the program, StartUp Chile brought 22 companies from 14 different countries.  The prize for the “winning companies” is $USD 40,000 of startup grant money per company.  The Chilean government also supplied the employees of the start up with a one-year visa,  office, and social and capital networks. By 2011, 300 startups were accepted into Chile’s program. The rapid increase of startup companies shows that there are many entrepreneurs world wide, waiting for their chance at a successful business.

About Author(s)

Alyssa Silver
Alyssa Silver is currently a senior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Information Science with a Certificate in Latin American Studies. Ms. Silver is an intern with the Center for Latin American Studies and Panoramas as a Jr. Web Designer. Alyssa has traveled in Latin America and lived in Argentina for over a year. She is fluent in Spanish and loves learning new languages. She will be graduating in December of 2014 with the prospects of traveling to more countries in Latin America and continuing to learn about their culture.