Ambitious South African tech entrepreneurs were given a lesson in how to successfully apply for US$40,000 of Chilean government money in a special presentation in Cape Town yesterday (Tuesday).
James Kennedy, an Irish entrepreneur who has twice won funding from the programme, which requires you to spend all the money in the country within six months and grants a one year Chilean working visa, gave the presentation at the Bandwidth Barn, Woodstock, to around 50 people.
Kennedy said it is “actually quite easy to get the 40 grand” from the government of the “long skinny country on the left hand side (of South America)”.
He added they are not interested in where people are born because they realise the best entrepreneurs are not necessarily within their borders – the same goes for every country in the world.
When Kennedy first went over to Chile as part of the programme, he wasn’t sure how legitimate it was. “When I arrived I thought I wasn’t going to get the money, I thought it was a scam,” he said, but he soon found out the opportunity is very real.
The entrepreneurs accepted into the programme must start their business in Santiago, Chile, and be able to support themselves for at least a month in the country, thereafter the Chilean government will take care of rent and supply $600 to live off each month.
Other than the US$40,000 the accepted entrepreneur will be given “wonderful work space in mid Santiago” in a building shared by 200 other entrepreneurs, which Kennedy describes as a great opportunity for networking.
“They offer zero mentorship, they expect you to be big enough to figure it out yourself,” said Kennedy. This is because the entrepreneur should be able to achieve leadership within their market and understand their present and future competition.
The project entrepreneurs intend to enter in their application should have a creative and interesting pitch, it should be attractive and feasible and the team should have access to intellectual property or technology.
Having experience in a leading company, achieved something impressive career-wise, global ambition and strong recommendation letters are attributes that will be advantageous to an applicant.
The application is very important and a prospective entrepreneur should put their best effort into it. “A lot of people do a bad job of their application.”
Part of the application requires a video submission and applicants should ensure the founder or team are seen or heard in the video. Kennedy said applicants should spend more than a day creating the video while trying to keep the production quality as high as possible.
“Make sure they can see your face and that the camera is steady. It shows how much (effort) went into it and it shows how serious you are,” said Kennedy.
Once the application is submitted, Kennedy said it usually takes up to six weeks to hear whether the application was successful or not. Interested parties can visit Start-Up Chile’swebsite to learn more orclick here to apply.