Promoting micro-entrepreneurship in Chile

08 •  jan •  2023

El Mercurio de Valparaíso featured the column “Boosting micro-entrepreneurship in Chile”, by Macarena Cea, Director of Evaluation and Measurement of the Luksic Foundation, and Cristián Schalper, Director of the Entrepreneurship area.

For entrepreneurs, the last two years have been marked by the consequences of the health and economic crisis. According to ASECH data, 46% of entrepreneurs said that their business was severely affected by the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economy reported that 63.1% of microenterprises experienced decreases in their sales between 2019 and 2020.

Microentrepreneurs state the need for greater training, financing and networking opportunities to boost their businesses. An INE study shows that 77% of microentrepreneurs resorted to their own resources to start their ventures, 24% have received support from some institution and 70% have never received training for the economic activity they develop.

Through the work we do at Fundación Luksic, together with more than 9,000 entrepreneurs across the country, since 2018, we have witnessed how they face a series of difficulties on a daily basis to move their businesses forward, increase their sales and expand their customer network. To address these challenges, in alliance with Corporación Simón de Cirene and the UC School of Management, we implemented the Impulso Chileno program, to support entrepreneurs with financing, training and personalized mentoring, in order to improve the sales and management of their businesses.

Internally, this program has gone through a cycle of redesign and evaluations in order to ensure its quality and constantly improve it. The results evaluation of Impulso Chileno revealed that the entrepreneurs who participated in the program increased their average monthly sales by 83%, increased the number of paid workers in their businesses, and reported improvements in the management of their income, both in their microenterprises and at the family level.

To continue to ensure the quality of the program, we have embarked on an impact evaluation, a process commissioned to the J-PAL research center, to establish whether the results obtained can be attributed to this initiative. Specifically, we want to demonstrate whether the funding, training and personalized mentoring have a causal effect on the increase in sales, profits and number of employees of the microenterprises participating in Impulso Chileno.

To share this and other experiences, we met with 13 institutions from the entrepreneurship ecosystem to jointly address common challenges and evaluate opportunities for collaboration. We are convinced that reflecting on the lessons learned from different institutions allows us to develop improvement processes to increase the chances of success of the initiatives.

The articulation between institutions that work with entrepreneurs depends on collaboration and permanent dialogue with the ecosystem. Cooperation between different actors and evidence-based decision making will provide better opportunities for the more than two million entrepreneurs in Chile to continue driving and boosting the country’s economy.