It’s Tuesday night, and the Canucks just won the conference finals. There is a group of 15 SFU MBA students in Chile, and we’re having a blast! So far we have met with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Embassy, a junior mining company, Scotiabank, Johnson & Johnson, and explora (a luxury travel company). Tomorrow, we will be meeting with Methanex, New Balance, and Colgate-Palmolive.
One of the things I’ve learned so far is that there are unlimited opportunities here in Chile. The Chilean government has developed a program where young entrepreneurs can receive $40,000 in funding, with no equity stake, along with a work visa. For more information, you can visit their website at www.startupchile.org. Another key takeaway is that Chile is a small market relative to other countries. As a result, it is not easy to facilitate customer requirements. Often, manufactured goods for large companies such as Johnson & Johnson will have to import its products from neighbouring countries such as Argentina and Brazil. MNCs do not view their Chilean markets with much priority, and therefore, do not have plants within Chile.
We have also had the chance to do some sightseeing. Our group has traveled to the Casablanca area for some wine tasting, and we were also able to walk around Santiago and truly experience the city. We ended today by visiting the Virgin Mary, and of course an authentic Chilean dinner and lots of “Pisco Sours” and vina!