My first learning point was about the Chilean culture and history. Coming from New Zealand, an incredibly young country with little history, I found Chile’s history incredibly intriguing. Learning about Salvador Allende and his story for example was fascinating. Seeing the world through this different perspective was eye opening. Also, the culture was varied from what I was used to in NZ. Chile is a more conservative country in comparison. The education systems, fashion sense and way businesses operate were all different to what I was used to. This trip taught me about these differences and educated me on how to be culturally appropriate in other scenarios that I’m not used to. It was not only educational but enjoyable. Chileans are also a lot more affectionate than Kiwis in general. From the physical greetings to the way we were welcomed at each of the businesses it was interesting to see how caring their culture is. I also found that family was an even larger priority in Chile than back home. Sundays leave the streets almost empty because everyone is at home with their families, even marketing often relates back to family as it is a strong value of Chilean families.
Visiting the array of businesses helped inspire me to continue with my YES business back home. Seeing these entrepreneurs and hearing their stories has shown me that perseverance is key and has really made the goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur realistic. Meeting other entrepreneurs who have made their own startups and been successful showed me others who had followed the path I wish to one day venture upon and that was a real confirmation to me that this career path truly is a viable option. Not only that but I learnt incredibly useful tools from these incredible people. For example, at “The Intern Group” we learnt about the importance of creating your business’ core values and how to go about finding what those really are for your own company. Being able to scrape their minds was incredibly beneficial and it really shed some light on some tips that could one day be vital to my success. These types of things you can early learn from someone who has learnt the lessons the hard way and already walked the path and this trip was an awesome opportunity for me to obtain invaluable knowledge and wisdom of experts in their field.
I also learnt a lot about Chilean business culture and the incredible opportunities they have over there for up-and-coming startups. From my very little knowledge of Latin America I would have never imagined Chile to have such a great atmosphere for new and developed businesses to flourish in. I never thought that it would have been able to compete with the other larger countries such as Brazil and Argentina but this trip has definitely changed my perspective on this. It is clear to me now that Chile really is the gateway to Latin America.
The Government is incredibly supportive of new startups and has started projects such as Startup Chile to help new businesses in Chile. It’s clear that Chile are incredibly supportive of their growth in this area and are really trying to promote Chile as the most prominent country in Latin America. After this trip I would definitely consider starting or expanding a business of mine to Chile if I ever got to that stage. Additionally I found out some crucial points about the Chilean Business Culture. For example, business calls rarely start with the participants talking about business. It is important to care about the person you are speaking with first and the business second. This value of relationships can also be a negative for new companies trying to come into the Chilean market. People tend to only do business with those they know well which makes it hard for new businesses and startups who don’t have these connections. These are all crucial pieces of information to keep in mind and they are the types of things one can only learn from the people who actually work in Chile which I am incredibly grateful for.
- Jakob Nicholson, Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka