In 2019 we witnessed how entrepreneurship achieved a never-before-seen prominence. In June of this year, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, GEM, was officially launched. Chile National Report 2018″, a study that positioned the country as the highest rate of entrepreneurship in Latin America – with 25.1%-, ranking third in the world.
The above should not surprise us. During this year we also had television programs and new sections in the media whose sole objective has been to publicize the new business ideas, proving that in Chile there is talent to spare. However, on October 18 of this year it was a blow to the country, not only because that Latin American oasis was not such – since we hid great inequality and social discontent – but also, because the amount of mobilizations and in some cases the violence and the decline in sales resulted in losses for entrepreneurs.
The Ministry of the Economy accounted for more than 15,000 SMEs affected by the country situation, not only because of the physical problems that their workplaces may have suffered, but also because of the decline in purchases, both by the large businessowner – who was required to prioritize other areas- such as the end consumer. As if that were not enough, some economists projected that by January 2020 the unemployment figure will reach double digits.
These figures are not optimistic, but they open a door for us to do things better. Argentina is one of the countries in the region with the most unicorns – six startups valued at more than US$ 1 billion – and, according to experts, among the reasons are the country situation and high unemployment figures, which have forced people to emerge through the development of entrepreneurship.
We have a unique opportunity to ensure that high unemployment translates into a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity in the country, but to achieve this we must work to enhance this practice.
We welcome initiatives such as “Up My SME” launched by Corfo – an institution that, by 2020, will add approximately US$ 3 billion in funding to support SMEs – “Let’s raise your SME” from the Ministry of Economy and many others driven by both private and by the public sector, which seek to prevent MEses affected by the social outburst from dying. However, we are concentrating all our efforts on this segment and we are forgetting those who are just departing, without realizing that both are parallel processes and that, together, they form the two sides of a coin.
We need to deliver all the support that is necessary for those new business ideas to become profitable and scalable models – inside and outside Chile – that are able to contribute for the development not only economic of the country, but also social and cultural .
Finally, if we want the country to continue to grow, we must – together with bring small and medium-sized enterprises afloat – to invest and build projects that allow the creation of new businesses that respond, precisely, to the needs that this new Chile needs: we need to boost those SMEs that want to go out and sell out of the country, creating companies that, as Argentine unicorns do, stop relying on the local economy and start feeding on the international one.
The content poured into this opinion column is the sole responsibility of its author, and does not necessarily reflect the editorial line or position of El Mostrador.