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Santiago hosts entrepreneur women

Santiago hosts entrepreneur women

Posted by José Peralta on October 24, 2014

The Servicio de Cooperación Técnica (SERCOTEC) of the Ministry of Economy and Tourism held a conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The event focused on entrepreneur women and it featured inspirational and educational talks, an award ceremony and even the presence of President Bachelet.

One of the first speakers was José Ignacion Oñate, CEO of PRO+SPIRIT, a company that empowers entrepreneurs. In a charismatic preacher-like presentation he gave a few tips for reaching success:

-Set yourself defying but winning goals.

-Connect with people who inspire and encourage you.

-Success comes slowly, and when you are only one meter away from it frustration will appear.

-Market conditions don’t matter, your attitude does.

-Competition is healthy as long as its purpose is not destroying the competition.

After his talk, Oñate told I Love Chile that “women can transform society through entrepreneurship. Feminine energy in business will make a difference community-wise. Men only focus on making money, but women start new businesses for other reasons and we men should support that.”

The next speaker was Google Chile’s Country Manager Fernando López. His presentation focused on digital trends that can help businesses reach success.

According to him, “consumers are dispersed and it is harder to reach them.” However, companies that understand how to use technology in their favor have a big advantage. Online there is the possibility of finding more information to help make decisions, as well as diverse and original data on who the customers are. What’s more, paying is no longer a requirement.

Some of the tools that female entrepreneurs have used in Chile to expand their businesses are primarily Google AdWords, but also Google Maps and Aanlytics. According to López: “Anyone who owns a company can promote their product with these tools and at any budget.”

Technology can even help entrepreneurs export their goods or even internationalize their business.

Following this presentation was a ceremony to award three entrepreneurs who had received the Capital Abeja subsidy, a fund created to finance new companies started by women. Those who access the program can get between CL$50,000 and CL$1,500,000 to make their ideas a reality.

The women in the audience were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected visit of President Michelle Bachelet and Minister of Economy and Tourism Luis Felipe Céspedes, who opened with a speech.

According to Céspedes, small companies make a great contribution to Chile’s economy but their input in the country’s GDP is not as big as it should be because the government doesn’t support them enough, and it is also hard for small business owners to access financing.

Céspedes stated that in order to diversify the economy, it is important to focus on small companies. As one measure, the government will open 50 Centros de Desarrollo Empresariales (business development centers) across Chile in 2015. They will offer free technical advice for people opening new companies.

The Ministry of Economy will also open Centros Pyme Exporta, to help small companies export their goods. “Only 2.5 percent of pymes export and it is not enough,” stated Céspedes.

The government is also hoping to strengthen tourism, an industry where 95 percent of the companies are small businesses.

In the 2015 budget presented by President Bachelet at the beginning of the month, the government has increased the support of small companies by 38 percent and financing to SERCOTEC by 60 percent.

After Céspedes’ speech, the audience was treated to a rendition of María Elena Walsh’s “Como la cigarra” by singer and songwriter Francesca Ancarola.

After the song, President Bachelet made a speech. She started by recognizing how strong, persistent and creative Chilean women are, adding that this creative capital is what the government is trying to support with Capital Abeja.

“When we empower a woman, we empower a whole community,” stated Bachelet. According to the president, there is data that shows that women make sure their income not only benefits them but their whole family.

In the next year, the government will introduce new resources to finance entrepreneurship. One, for example, is Corfo’s financing of business innovation.

In Bachelet’s words, “Chile punishes those who fail at a business. We want risk-takers to do good.” She also mentioned the new Centros de Desarrollo Empresarial, Centros Pyme Exporta but also the Más Capaz program, that will offer training to over 300,000 women and 50,000 young people who have problems finding a job.

The government has also introduced the Tu Empresa en un Día website to facilitate the creation of companies. Right now around 135 businesses start a day thanks to this project.

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