We landed in Santiago, Chile on Sunday, May 22, 2011 for a weeklong field study trip as part of the SFU Beedie School of Business MBA program.
The first thing we did was travel to Casablanca Valley for a tour of Casas del Bosque, where we learned about the phenomenal growth of Chile’s wine industry in the past decade. The following morning, we met with a Trade Commissioner from the Government of Canada to learn about the economic climate in Chile. Afterwards, we had a meeting with a Canadian entrepreneur in the mining industry who described the opportunities and challenges of starting a business in the country. To finish off our day, we headed to Scotiabank for a presentation on the financial sector and banking industry – one of the most stable in the world.
The next day, we met with representatives from Johnson & Johnson and Explora Hotels – two very different companies with one being consumer goods and the other luxury travel. Their insight into the market really highlighted the similarities and differences to doing business in Canada. One key difference was the logistics involved in managing a supply chain. Chile has been described as an island with the ocean on one side and the Andes on the other. This poses significant challenges in getting product from facilities in other parts of the world and generally takes much longer than what we would expect in Canada.
Stay tuned for our adventures in the next few days!