In the last decade, the number of women seeking to start projects and form legal entities in Chile and begin commercial operations has increased significantly. One of the first studies on “Support for female entrepreneurship in Alliance of the Pacific” reveals that there are 51 programs aimed at strengthening and promoting female entrepreneurship in the countries of The Alliance.
Although the study conducted by the Alliance of the Pacific Strategic Observatory indicates that the rate of female entrepreneurship has increased, some changes must take place to keep this trend going. Communities must come together to fight against sexist stereotypes, reduce the fear of risk, and improve access to credit for women to facilitate the process. These factors combined will create an environment which encourages the participation of women in entrepreneurship.
“…women entrepreneurs in Latin America and Chile have historically been invisible for having informal enterprises or micro-enterprises, mistakenly thinking they only have a minor impact in the contribution to the economy…Although women represent 40% of the economically active population in Latin America, their entrepreneurial participation does not exceed 15%”. – Fernanda Vicente, President of the Women of the Pacific.
While female entrepreneurship by Latin America women in the region is far from where it should be, many foreign companies managed by women have decided to establish operations in the region to take advantage all that the country has to offer; notably government policies welcome foreign investment, an array of the attractive business sectors and an educated pool of local talent.
Female Entrepreneurship in Chile
Chile presents a great jurisdiction for entrepreneurs and in fact, was recognised as the most innovative South America nation by the Global Innovation Index in 2013. Chile remains an attractive location to begin commercial operations, continually ranking highly in the Work Banks ‘Easy of Doing Business’ index.
The Association of Entrepreneurs in Latin America (ASELA) and The Women of the Pacific conducted a study on the ‘Support of Female Entrepreneurship in the Alliance of the Pacific’, the results showed that Chile ranks in second place in Latin America in terms of the number of women entrepreneurs. Peru topped the list, followed by Peru then Colombia and then Mexico.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report ‘Women and Entrepreneurial activity in Chile‘, on average, women entrepreneurs are between 39 and 44 years of age, perhaps highlighting that women tend to take on career challenges later in their life due to traditional female roles in society. The same study presented statistics which identified an increase in women entrepreneurship in Chile, which rose from 10.9% in 2005 to 25.5% in 2014. Unfortunately, in the past two years, this number has remained stable at 22%
We must also remember that this growth is focused on the low and middle socio-economic strata (stratum D and C3), revealing that it is in these sectors where the entrepreneurial strength of the country lies.
Doing Business in Chile
In recent years, there have been positive developments in the generation of programs to support female entrepreneurship, however, society as a whole could use further innovation to create more opportunities and better the resources available. Both Chilean society and the local government remain committed to breaking down the barriers to greater participation in entrepreneurship in Chile by women.
With the right local legal and accounting support, both local Chileans and foreigners have every chance to experience success in their business venture. Reach out to Allan at Biz Latin Hub [email protected] and see how we can support you and your business in Latin America.