In focus: Government schemes & incentives for women entrepreneurs in Chile
Chile boasts of a perfect balance between natural and artificial beauty. Among developing countries, Chile is seen as one of the fastest-growing and most stable economies in Latin America. Apart from that, the country has a well-developed infrastructure, healthcare system and a very stable political environment – all of which builds on to make it an attractive destination for setting up business.
Another interesting fact is – Chile’s tax rate is lower than most of the Latin American countries (and also well below the tax rates in European countries), which creates a vibrant and dynamic environment for business. Plus Chile has the fastest growth in entrepreneurial activity compared with other countries in Latin American and Europe.
The high level of entrepreneurial activity in Chile is the result of a number of national policies & initiatives promoted by government agencies and private sector organizations. Interestingly, a national initiative designated 2012 as the Year of Entrepreneurship and 2013 as the Year of Innovation.
Here are some government schemes and incentives for women entrepreneurs in Chile.
> National Women’s Service (SERNAM)
This is a body created by the Government of Chile – to promote equal opportunities for both men and women. It is a decentralised organisation which mainly works to protect the rights of women and also fights for gender equality. It was established in 1991, and strives to provide women with equal rights and opportunities – at par with men socially, economically and politically. There are 13 regional directorships of SERNAM in Chile with its headquarters in the capital city.
> Biz Latin Hub
Biz Latin Hub can help with starting a business in Chile. The team here has extensive experience in supporting foreign executives when starting a business in Chile. With their comprehensive portfolio of back office solutions, including legal, accounting, and recruitment support, they can help to enter and do business in the Chilean market, or any of the other 17 markets in Latin America and the Caribbean where they have a presence.
This government agency – National Corporation for Production Promotion is responsible to deploy national policies that promote entrepreneurship and innovation in 15 regional subdivisions of Chile. CORFO offers a comprehensive national program that includes – distribution of seed capital funds to promote entrepreneurial growth and business expansion, which is in alignment with the Chilean strategy of a social market economy that facilitates national productivity and international competitiveness. In terms of international competitiveness, Chile was the 13th most competitive economy in the world in 1995, and in 2013 it was ranked 34th among 148 countries included in the annual Global Competitive Index of the World Economic Forum.
> Family Business Network (FBN)
Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Lausanne, the mission of FBN is – to offer business families a safe space to learn and inspire each other about: how to guide the family involvement in the business; facilitate relationships within the family; raise awareness and importance of the family business models in society.
This network works to build connections between family-owned businesses. It provides training and insurance benefits to enterprises that are family–owned and the unique factor here is that it is mainly managed by women. It motivates women to participate actively in family-owned business ventures and also work in the capacity of co-owners.
When a study by PPWE found that the lack of women’s entrepreneurial networks in APEC is a barrier for growth for woman-owned businesses in the region, it took action. This was when the PPWE created the Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE-APEC) initiative which is focused on connecting women entrepreneurs to each other and to the private sector – to access the vast range of goods and services available from women-owned enterprises, and to government services that help businesses grow.
The purpose of this association is – “to enable business families to thrive and transform across generations to build a sustainable future”. And their mission states – “We offer business families a safe space to learn from, share with and inspire each other about how to guide the family involvement in the business, facilitate relationships within the family and raise the awareness and importance of family business models in society.”
> Federation of Chilean Industry (SOFOFA)
This federation represents the industrial sector of Chile. The Chilean Federation of Industry (SFF) is a non-profit trade association representing the views and interests of Chilean industry.It works towards more and more female participation in the industrial sector. This association was established in the 19th century and the federation encourages integration of women-owned enterprises; andit also motivates women to take up management and executive positions in the industrial sectors.
The SFF represents the views of industry to Government and Parliament on proposed legislation, rules and regulations; it enlightens the government about views of industry on issues such as the streamlining of the state and assistance for small- and medium- sized businesses, especially in the regions; it advises members on taxation, tariff, environmental, and statutory matters; and supports the introduction of new technologies capable of building up long-term competitive advantages, including the use of the Internet for business purposes.
Currently, close to 2500 industrial entrepreneurs are part of SOFOFA. So, anyone interested can join the Chilean Federation of Industry.
> National Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises Trade Unions (CONUPIA)
Established in the year 1966, this federation provides networking and training opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs in Chile. And, it is seen that 75% of entrepreneurs who join the training courses are women.
> International and National Finance for Women (FINAM)
FINAM is a non-profit organization that helps women make a positive move, by riding on Chile’s economic advances. The non-profit is affiliated with Women’s World Banking. It provides training in business skills to strengthen women in business and boost their confidence. It also supports network of women leaders and professionals in productive activities.
> WEConnect International
WEConnect International is a global network that connects women-owned businesses to qualified buyers around the world.Their mission is to “help drive money into the hands of women business owners by enabling them to compete in the global marketplace”. This is a private organisation that trains, registers and certifies women-owned business enterprises.