Missions in 2017: New lessons for national sustainable development

The incorporation of new practices and knowledge regarding collaborative relationships, innovation, biotechnology entrepreneurship and the development of renewable forms of energy were the main themes covered by AmCham Chile missions to the United States during 2017. These missions were founded on dialogue between the public and private sector and on the identification of key, comprehensive business models based on a future, citizen-centric outlook. 

During 2017, the Chilean American Chamber of Commerce, AmCham Chile, took the lead in staging four business missions to the United States: one on technology and innovation to Silicon Valley; one on collaborative relationships to California; one on biotechnology to Boston; and one on smart networks and electric power distribution to New York and Boston. The aim of these missions was to enable delegates to share knowledge and learn new experiences through integration and dialogue between the public and private sector. A further objective was for them to identify new business opportunities, while also building links with authorities, academia, leading opinion makers and experts from both Chile and the US.

US innovation ecosystem: development opportunities and new trends

In September, young innovators from the field of life sciences gathered in the city of Boston alongside venture capitalists and angel investors in order to discuss the US regulatory framework in this sector. The mission Look North Biotech-Exploring Boston Biotech Ecosystem and Funding Strategies for New Ventures, organized by AmCham Chile, supported by Corfo and with collaboration from Deloitte, included training sessions and visits to renowned institutions, including Merck, Harvard Law School, Deloitte and the MIT Technology Licensing Office. The main objective of this particular mission was to identify the challenges and opportunities related to raising capital for start-ups in biotechnology and life sciences. The mission took place in the context of Look North, the AmCham Chile program that seeks to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in Chile, which are crucial factors for national development.

The mission was made up of the entrepreneurs José Tomás Arenas from Telediagnósticos, Pablo González from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and María Inés Díaz from Biocellix. All three have developed innovative ways of improving the lives of people who live with diseases such as diabetes, retina-related disorders and herpes. These innovations include the development of new diagnosis methodologies and the use of latest-generation resources such as artificial intelligence and nanoparticles to regenerate cellular tissue. In Boston, mission delegates had the opportunity to learn about the regulatory frameworks of entities such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They also gained exposure to the areas of interest of potential investors, as well as a greater understanding of technical, financial and marketing aspects that may help them to build links within the US biotechnology ecosystem.

It was in a similar area, albeit one more focused on the latest trends in innovation and technology, that a simultaneous business mission was staged in Silicon Valley, near San Francisco. The delegation, which was jointly organized by AmCham Chile and the Colombian American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Colombia) was aimed at boosting the knowledge of participants with regard to recent progress and business opportunities afforded by this US technology and innovation hub. The mission was comprised of executives from Principal, Cuprum AFP, VTR, Angloc, Ecoenergías and Stars Investment, among other companies, and included meetings held in the offices of Microsoft, LinkedIn, Sales Force, IBM, Cisco, Google, Plug and Play, EndeavorVR and Amazon Web Services. These activities looked in detail at issues concerning innovation, digital transformation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and entrepreneurship. The mission was sponsored by United and made up of 12 companies from Chile and 16 from Colombia.

The challenge of collaborative work 

The current need to evolve towards collaborative ways of working is a nationwide challenge. The United States is one of the nations to have spent the most time working on collaborative models between distinct social stakeholders, since that country has long since realized the need to work towards common objectives and solutions in order to overcome environmental, economic and energy challenges. Understanding the US experience in this regard is crucial, and it was with this sentiment in mind that the mission Productive Development, Social Changes and Conservation in the United States: Exploring Collaborative Evolution was staged in October. In California, the sixth largest economy in the world, a delegation of Chilean businesspersons from a range of productive sectors, discussed models of collaboration and analysis of the structure, organization and financing of initiatives geared towards strengthening work with civil society. 

With collaboration from the Chilean Embassy in the US, the delegates of the mission met a range of authorities from California Natural Resources Agency, experts from Stanford University and executives from Google. In addition, meetings were held with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Oceana, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Consensus Building Institute, as too were encounters with foundations including the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Marisla Foundation and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. 

Collaborative relationships imply significant benefits for Chile, including greater economic development; increased competitiveness; the integration of new stakeholders; the incorporation of international standards; the implementation of comprehensive business models with scientific and academic backing; and the emergence of corporate citizens with greater commitment to social issues. This area will form one of the central components of AmCham Chile’s work in 2018, and its success will depend heavily on the involvement of private companies, NGOs and public sector representatives.

Towards a more competitive model of electric power distribution

In March, AmCham Chile took the lead in the mission Chile-United States: Intelligent Networks and New Models of Electric Power Distribution, with support from the Chilean Embassy in the US. The mission consisted of visits to New York and Boston in order to explore new alternatives of electric power distribution and learn about the latest technologies, regulatory frameworks and commercial models in the field. At present, Chile is confronting a number of different energy challenges, including the promotion, regulation and operation of an electric power system made up of multiple sources of generation and which is seeking to actively boost the role of non-conventional renewable energy in the national energy mix. The mission was composed of numerous delegates, including the Comisión Nacional de Energía (National Energy Commission) and the Superintendencia de Electricidad y Combustibles (Superintendence of Electricity and Fuels), as well as representatives from the main energy groups operating in Chile.

The mission included a full agenda of meetings with some of the most renowned US entities and companies, both federal and private, in the energy domain, such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York State Public Service Commission, the Consolidated Edison Company (conEdison), the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU), and MIT Energy Initiative-Utility of the Future. 

Mission Look North Biotech-Exploring Boston Biotech Ecosystem and Funding Strategies for New Ventures. September, Boston. 

Mission Productive Development, Social Changes and Conservation in the United States: Exploring Collaborative Evolution. October, California. 

Mission Innovation and Technology to Silicon Valley. September, San Francisco.

Mission Chile-United States: Intelligent Networks and New Models of Electric Power Distribution.  March, New York and Boston.


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