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Chile: A Gathering of Entrepreneurial Minds

Categories: Latin America, Chile, Economics & Business, Ideas, Technology

Photo by Luis Ramirez [1] and used under a Creative Commons license.

Webprendedor [es] [2] was the first conference of its kind in Chile that gathered entrepreneurs and their projects. Some of the questions that were addressed included: What are some of the projects using web 2.0 tools? What are some of the difficulties of running a project of this kind in Chile? The conference was held in the Santiago Library, with approximately 300 people in attendance. Luis Ramirez explains the mood of the conference [es] [3]:

Algo que siempre sorprende de esta clase de eventos es la pasión que colocan los emprendedores, especialmente los que ya han tenido que pasar por las fases iniciales de creación de su empresa. Ellos comunican de manera eufórica que hay que a atreverse a cruzar las barreras o como uno de ellos dijos (en inglés) BE BOLD (ser audaz, tal como el lema de mi blog). Me llamó mucho la atención algo que venía escuchando hace tiempo: cada vez impresionan menos los buenos planes de negocio e impresionan más las ideas que se creen con convicción. Oskar, el sueco que vino a Chile a fundar Needish fue la máxima prueba de ese punto.

Something that always surprises me in these events is the passion that the entrepreneurs display, especially those that have had to pass through initial phases during the creation of their company. They communicate in an euphoric manner that one must dare to cross through many barriers or as one of them said (in English) BE BOLD (which is also the slogan of my blog). Something else that caught my attention which I have been hearing for quite awhile: Business plans impress less and ideas coupled with conviction impress more. Oskar, the Swede [4], who came to Chile to establish Needish [es] [5] was an extreme example of this point.

The first speaker was Tim Delhas, who spoke about what it is like to be an entrepreneur and to work on web. 2.0 projects. Richard Bou of La Ideoteca [es] posts about the tips that he learned from Tim's lecture [6]. Some of them were suggestions on how to be bold and ambitious, and that an entrepreneur need to have 4 things very clear: the market, the opportunity, the differing characteristics between the two, and the team to make it possible. Richard also summarized other presentations and what he got out of them.

Cristian Sepulveda [es]
presented his talk, “Corfo te amo, te odio.” (Corfo, I love you, I hate you). He explains his relationship with Corfo [es] [7], an organization that supports web 2.0 innovations. In addition, he spoke about how to deal, how to move, and what to expect when asking for economic support in order to start a project with CORFO. He had already been through this process when he asked for support for his project Meeting [es] [8], which is an online project to conduct meetings, classes and seminars.

As referenced earlier by Ramirez, Oskar Hjertonsoon from Needish spoke about how to present web 2.0 initiatives to investors and what to expect from his own experience. Oskar is one of the founders of the Needish [5] platform and which has received support from Wenceslao Casares, founder of Patagon. To see his presentation, click here [9].

Other presentations were given by Paolo Colonnello [es] [10] from Blue Company [11], who explained about the Bligoo [12] platform. This program (developed in Chile) has started to generate profit. Paolo wrote his thoughts on the conference:

La conferencia de ayer me dejo muy satisfecho, es la primera vez que nos encontramos los emprendedores de la Web Chilena. Unos 300 entusiastas llenamos el auditorio de la Biblioteca de Santiago y por más de cuatro horas estuvimos conversando y exponiendo de distintos proyectos y aprendiendo mutuamente. La orientación de las charlas no fue tecnica sino que la visión de negocio, cuidado de clientes, financiamiento y emprendimiento. La organización a cargo de Nico Orellana fue impecable.

Yesterday's conference left me fulfilled, as it was the first time that Web entrepreneurs in Chile had met. Around 300 enthusiasts filled the auditorium in the Santiago library and for four hours, we talked and presented about different projects. We learned from one another. The point of the lectures were not very technical, but rather focused on business vision, customer care, on financial and entrepreneurial matters. Nico Orellana's [13] organization of the conference was perfect.

Another topic that gathers interest is how to make money from blogs and pages. Javier Yranzo [es] [14] from Grey Chile [es] [15] spoke about adwords and adsense.

The conference concluded with the presentation of Leo Prieto [es] (see interview with Global Voices here [16]), founder of Zetacorp Networks [es] [17]. He spoke about the world of web 2.0 and his experience with Fayerwayer [es] [18], one of the most successful technology blogs in Latin America. To see his presentation click here [19].

How was the conference organized? One of the lecturers, Oskar from Needish wrote how he was invited to participate in this event [es] [20]:

Un día aparece Nicolás Orellana en mi vida (no hace falta llorar), con la visión del sitio Webprendedor como un lugar para fomentar el negocio… ¡de otros sitios Web! Algo que entendía hace rato ya, se consolidó en mí como algo clave hoy en la conferencia organizada por Nicolás (y otros importantes emprendedores chilenos, ej. www.meeting.cl): Uno puede crear negocio solo pero un negocio necesita una industria para vivir. La industria tendremos que crear juntos (ahora, si pueden llorar) y yo prometo que Needish – en caso de éxito – prestará futuros recursos para soportar eventos y actividades para fomentar la innovación en Chile

One day, Nicolas Orellana appeared in my life (there is no need to cry) with the vision of the site Webprendedor as a place to promote the business…….of other web sites! Something that I have known for awhile now, but was reinforced today at the conference organized by Nicolás (and other important Chilean entrepreneurs, i.e. www.meeting.cl) that one can create a business but only a business needs industry to be able to survive. In industry, we need to create together (now, we can cry) and I promise that Needish, in the case of being successful, will lend future resources to be able to support events and activities to support innovation in Chile.

Photos of the conference here [21]