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Christchurch entrepreneur the sole Kiwi in new Chile startup scheme

Christchurch entrepreneur the sole Kiwi in new Chile startup scheme
New Zealand entrepreneur Michael Green is heading to Chile in November after his goal-setting social network, Day Zero Project, was selected to take part in a government-supported initiative intended to grow the country's startup ecosystem.

New Zealand entrepreneur Michael Green is heading to Chile in November after his goal-setting social network, Day Zero Project, was selected to take part in a government-supported initiative intended to grow the country's startup ecosystem.

New Zealand entrepreneur Michael GreenGreen is the first – and only – Kiwi accepted by Start-Up Chile, for which he will receive US$40,000 of equity-free seed capital, a one-year work visa and access to local financial and social networks as part of an international acceleration programme in Santiago. He will spend six months in Chile with the objective of raising funds, hiring talent and launching the business there.

All of the entrepreneurs are measured during their time in the programme by various indicators including participation in local events, presenting workshops on their particular expertise, raising local or international capital, and contracting talent.

Green said participating in Start-Up Chile would give Day Zero Project greater global exposure and open up networks to other entrepreneurs and potential venture capital.

The website was founded, designed and built by Christchurch-based Green.

It has been operational for more than 18 months and has more than 35,000 members. It goes beyond a regular bucket list, enabling participants to create a list of things they want to accomplish in the next 1001 days, track their progress and find inspiration for new challenges.

"Many people have created lists in the past – frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic," he said.

"I have a long list of ideas I plan to work on, including further developing the social interaction and introducing new goal-setting challenges to keep participants involved."

Green said he had a passion for Latin America after having travelled there several years ago.

"When I first heard of the Start-up Chile programme I knew it would be the perfect way to combine two of my interests, and also a chance to take some timeout from the disruptions in Christchurch."

Start-Up Chile seeks to attract early-stage high potential entrepreneurs to bootstrap their startups using Chile as a platform to go global, with the goal of converting the country into the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of Latin America.

Similar initiatives already exist in the US, Britain, and Greece.

More than 650 entrepreneurs applied to Start-Up Chile in the space of a month, from which only 154 were chosen. 

It has already welcomed over 100 startups and the scheme aims is to count 1,000 participants by 2014. The pilot launched in 2010, bringing together 22 startups from 14 countries.

Startups by nationality (*first time the country is represented in the scheme):

54: USA
27: Chile
12: Canada
9: Great Britain
5: Argentina, Brazil, India
3: France, Germany, Singapore*
2: Belgium*, Ecuador, Mexico, Portugal, Uruguay*
1: Australia, Bolivia*, China*, Colombia, Czech Republic*, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia*, Netherlands*, New Zealand*, Poland*, Romania*, Spain, Sri Lanka*, Switzerland

Industries:

25% Enterprise Software & IT
23% E-commerce & Trade
12% Mobile & Wireless
10% Social/NGO
8% Energy & Cleantech
4%  Finance & Economics
18% Other

Amount of time entrepreneurs have been working full time on their startup:

54% Less than 6 months
28% 6-12 months
14% 12-24 months
4% More than 24 months