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Startup Chile Ahoy

Well, Startup Chile is about to start. We leave on Tuesday 10th January to join the second intake of the second round. While we were trying to decide whether or not to apply we tried to find information about the program and what it was like to be a part of it. At the time, back in August, there was not much about apart from comments about the successful drinking that was being done by the participants. Since then, there have been a number of well publicised successes from the program and international news coverage, but little that I have found from a more on-the-ground perspective. I have therefore decided to blog as much as I can about the program, what it’s like to be a part of it, how useful it is to us and what we have to to during our time in Chile.

To start with, a few weeks ago I was contacted by my madrina, Johanna Angulo, a Chilean entrepreneur interested in my project whose role is to introduce me to the Chilean business scene, smooth the initial Startup Chile introduction process and generally look after me during my time there. Each business involved with the program is assigned a madrina or padrino (godmother or godfather) which seems to be a really nice way to help new arrivals get orientated.

Johanna has been really nice and helpful during our email conversations, including pointing out useful resources to learn the local Spanish dialect, Chilano, and offering to take us on a tour of Santiago when we arrive. Our situation is a little odd in that Ian and I are a couple, and yet we are there with two separate projects and therefore have separate godparents. Johanna and Strong Steams padrino, Fernando Mejia, seem to have teamed up though which is really useful.

Kyran, Ian’s business partner in Strong Steam has been arranging the accommodation for us in Santiago and has arranged for the agents through which we are renting our flats to pick us up from the airport and take us and our baggage to the flats. Johanna has offered to meet us at the airport also and to take us out for a late lunch after we’ve sorted ourselves out with our flats.

Once we’ve arrived, we’ll need to sort out our Chilean ID. Apparently we need this for a lot of things, not least to leave the country at the end of the program. The process seems fairly simple but I’ll keep you posted on that front. Otherwise, there will be some sort of induction occurring on the 16th January and an internal demo day where we have to pitch our projects. Not really sure what that will entail but it’s quite possible that my pitch from Startup Weekend will do the job nicely.

For now, it’s back to packing up the flat, packing for the flight and getting the last few bits and pieces together – including a rather large shopping list from Jon & Anna Markwell of all the things that they’ve missed from the UK since they’ve been away. The next update will probably be after we’ve arrived. How exciting.