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    MeetLatam: “Santiago is Latin America’s own Silicon Valley”

This past week, the second version of MeetLataman inspiring event aimed at technological businessmen, leaders of different industries and entrepreneurs took place.

High level conversation panels with international guest speakers were the highlight of the event, people who gave external opinions about innovation in Latin America and the barriers that still must be broken.

One of the phrases that caught most people’s attention was that of Marcus Shingles (Deloitte) during the investors’ panel (picture) where he said, “Santiago is Latin America’s Silicon Valley.” Indeed, all the panelists agreed that Chile is well viewed from the outside, as it has led to innovation and entrepreneurship through technological HUBs, events and meetups, but also through public policies capable of motivating and helping entrepreneurs with initiatives such as Corfo and Startup-Chile, which in fact is a unique example for the region on state funds that promote entrepreneurship.

Infrastructure

Another important detail that was talked about is in terms of “infrastructure”. On the one hand, Sergio Fernández de Cordova, White House delegate for Entrepreneurship, talked about some of the complications and difficulties that the U.S. faces in the organization and development of policies that allow the development between states. Said country has always been a pioneer in technological issues, but is not free of difficulties among local authorities. More than one would think. A concrete example was how the implementation of fiber optic networks between locations sometimes can turn into a big headache.

Meanwhile, Joan Lyman, from SpringBoard Enterprises pointed out that the main problem in Latin America is precisely infrastructure. For example, in Asia the technological developments are due greatly to the replacement of old infrastructure for new one, which allowed extra fast browsing speeds, that later led to the development of improved technology. The same should be done in Latin America, but in Chile we are far from getting to Asia’s internet speed, though everything seems to point out that it’s not an impossible task.

Women Entrepreneurs

The stars of MeetLatam were the women. Robin Chase (ZipCar), Ingrid Vandervelt (Dell), among others commented on womens’ role in entrepreneurship. In fact, Chile also stands out in the region for being a country with lots of opportunities for women to develop their own businesses.

The key of the conversation was “daring”. All the women that formed part of the conversation panel agreed that giving the first step was something that was only up to them.

MeetLatam has turned, in these past two years, into an event that should not be missed among those that form part of the Chilean entrepreneurship ecosystem. The quality of the speakers, networking possibilities and chances of doing business with both local and foreign investors is what gives this event a unique space on the national agenda.

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