Two years ago, Pietro Alberti (28) and three of his partners saw their expectations of bringing their innovative idea to the market frustrated. Together they had worked testing technified agricultural technologies in the Atacama Desert and the results, although successful, did not receive the necessary funding to operate.
But the future of their project changed after they won the Impulso Chileno contest in 2018, through which they received funding and academic accompaniment with the Escuela de Administración de la Universidad Católica. Today this project that dreamed of planting the desert has become a reality and these entrepreneurs are already harvesting more than 100 kilos of cherry tomatoes a week. They are also expanding to the rest of Chile.
They first started selling 500 gram trays in Arica. Then their business grew and reached Coquimbo and Santiago. A few days ago the tomatoes crossed the entire country and arrived in the XI Region, in the hands of Andrónico Luksic, businessman creator of “Impulso Chileno”.
“Is a great emotion to receive in Villa O’Higgins, heart of the chilean Patagonia, these rich cherry tomatoes from Arica. They show the great tenacity and conviction of Pietro, one of the thousands of chilean entrepreneurs who day by day fight for their ideas with effort”, commented the businessman before the surprise of receiving the box with cherry tomatoes at his door.
“Our idea was not so crazy”, says Pietro today and adds: “We mixed experience, wisdom and youth to carry out this project”.
They are currently using 2,900 liters of water for 240 cherry tomato plants spread over 350 square meters of land, although so far only about half of the space is being used. “We are in the experimentation stage,” Alberti explains. The work is done among the families of the 4 entrepreneurs, who clean the tomatoes and sell them to the city.
Although at the beginning they only harvested between 8 and 10 kilos a week, production has been increasing, so it has become necessary to look for new markets. “We make more than 100 kilos a week and it will increase”, says the engineer from the Universidad de Tarapacá. Although, so far they generate profits of around “500 thousand pesos”, the expectations to grow are still high and they are looking for more funds.
This year was the third edition of the Impulso Chileno contest, where more than 18 thousand entrepreneurs from all over Chile applied. Currently, an evaluation committee composed of Corporación Simón de Cirene, Universidad Católica and the Luksic Foundation, is reviewing the applications of the finalists to announce this year’s 100 winners during the second week of December.