100% natural sheep’s wool products made by spinners from the island of Chiloé, nutritious and innovative seaweed-based seasonings and stir-fries for the kitchen, a space for coffee and delicious pastries, and a pet food store may not seem to have much in common. However, these businesses were highlighted for their growth potential and good entrepreneurial profile, making them winners of the Impulso Chileno contest.
Impulso Chileno was born in 2018 with the objective of providing comprehensive support, with financing and academic accompaniment, to entrepreneurs from all over the country so that their businesses can scale. With good results, this initiative of the Entrepreneurship area of Fundación Luksic has held four versions, where more than 45,000 people have applied and a total of 420 entrepreneurs from all over Chile have won.
In the first and second edition (2019) there were 60 winners, in the third (2020) and with the purpose of reaching more people, it was increased to 100. The following year, aware of the impact of the crisis generated by the pandemic and convinced of the strength of entrepreneurs in Chile, Luksic Foundation doubled the number of winners reaching 200 entrepreneurs in 2021, who received funding of between $3 and $5 million, academic support through the UC School of Management and personalized mentoring by the Simon of Cyrene Corporation.
Cristián Schalper, head of the Entrepreneurship area of the Luksic Foundation, comments that “there is a positive evaluation of the contest by the winners. Our goal with each version is to improve and perfect the program to reach more people who need support to grow their businesses. Each year we get to know incredible stories of life and improvement, which fill us with pride, and we have witnessed how the entrepreneurs have grown both personally and professionally.
Chilwense, winner Impulso Chileno I, Los Lagos Region
Álexis Bórquez is from the municipality of Quellón and owner of “Chilwense”. With emotion he says that thanks to the program he was able to consolidate his business of 100% natural wool products from the area, and give it a new edge. “We had an increase in sales and a sustained increase in customers, but the most wonderful thing is that we have been able to offer an opportunity for entrepreneurs in the area, giving them training and valuing the social issue behind this work, giving an edge to rural development and social entrepreneurship, which could not have been achieved without the guidance and guidance of the mentors, “says Borquez.
Marina Alimentos, winner Impulso Chileno II, Biobío Region
With the idea of implementing the cochayuyo seaweed in the kitchen in a rich and novel way, Loreto Navarrete, from the commune of Coronel, created Marina Alimentos, a seasoning and sautéing business based on seaweed: “From being a small entrepreneur who made my products in the kitchen of my house, today thanks to Impulso Chileno, I have a room to process all my products exclusively with all the demands of the market,” says Navarrete.
The entrepreneur also proudly tells how she was able to increase her sales: “from selling $200,000 pesos a month I now sell more than a million pesos, and even more in key months such as December, where we have tripled our profits”.
Koi Café, winner Impulso Chileno III, Metropolitan Region
Koi Café, a coffee shop that offers coffees and cakes, is located in the commune of Providencia, a business owned by Cristián Carreño. The entrepreneur says that being part of the winners gave him satisfaction and confidence: “each step that we advanced or stage that was overcome, confirmed that our project was well evaluated and that our business model really stood out”. With the prize, he was able to finance new machinery that allowed them to attract new customers and increased sales.
Akira Happy Pets, winner Impulso Chileno IV, Maule Region
Because of the pandemic and after becoming unemployed, Jennifer Contalva decided to start selling pet food. In search of support, Jennifer applied to the fourth edition of Impulso Chileno where she turned out to be one of the 200 winners. “It was one joy after another, we cried with emotion,” she recalls. With the funding, Jennifer plans to expand her business and open a dog grooming salon. “With the prize we will be able to buy the necessary machinery, tubs and tools. The academic support has been fundamental, it has helped me a lot to grow my SME and sell my products. It has been wonderful,” she says.
The Luksic Foundation has not set a date for applications for the fifth version of the Impulso Chileno contest, which will open its applications this 2022. All the information regarding dates, requirements and legal bases will be published in due course, through the contest’s social networks, available at www.impulsochileno.cl.