Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

1,000 Chile SMEs get aid. What’s the best Latam country to be a Covid-era startup?

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – In Chile, Corfo, ACHS, and the startup Burn to Give have partnered to provide a aid to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggling to help their own struggling workers during Covid-19.

The pandemic recession is hitting countries hard, and the smallest and weakest the hardest. This is both in terms of working folks as well as small businesses.

Therefore, this new public-private aid package, destined to benefit Chilean SMEs, looks to extend perks and corporate benefits to workers in order to look out for their wellbeing. 

A total of 1,000 SMEs will be subsidized through this wellness program.

Startups helping startups: Corfo and Burn-to-Give aid

The initiative offers low-cost subscriptions to a wellness and corporate benefits plan. It includes life insurance—that gets better as healthier habits are adopted by the user—, telemedicine, psychological support, nutrition, and fitness and meditation apps at a rate of CP$100 (just over US$0.10) a day.

Startup Burn to Give, a social-impact insurtech, will be in charge of implementation linking it up through a program we reported on a few months back

Through its platform, the startup turns users’ good habits into better insurance coverage. For instance, each step that the user takes translates into one CP$1 added to their coverage at no extra cost. 

This alliance will allow SMEs in Chile to improve their performance and productivity by investing in their workers, while they improve their quality of life as they become aware of the importance of their well-being.

Pablo Terrazas, Executive Vice President of Corfo

Burning to give

We shouldn’t be all too surprised that Burn to Give is involved in this sort of initiative.

Just this past June, as the startup reported that it’s US$8.5 million round was the biggest Series A ever raised by a Chilean startup, it also became a US-based Public Benefit Corporation (PBC).

This means that established within their charter, Burn-to-Give is also obliged to consider the effects their business could have on society. Meaning, it’s not just about the money, but also a matter of being accountable for generating a positive impact.

Latin American aid: A tough startup

What’s interesting is not the charitableness of the startup but rather the leveraging of a preexisting solution by the Chilean government’s innovation branch to better the lives of its citizens.

It’s the type of ingeniousness we are sadly not seeing in the rest of Latin America. 

The map below shows how each country is spending to keep its economies afloat as a percentage of GDP.

Source: https://www.celag.org/ayudas-estatales-y-covid-19-en-america-latina/

Some countries spend more lavishly than others, but it is also important to consider how this money is spent.

In Brazil, for instance, support is more based on hand-outs. Meanwhile, Mexico is awarding smaller businesses credit lines at lower interest rates.

Both approaches have their pros and cons, but with a bit of imagination—like Corfo has shown—a smaller amount of money can be used to a much greater effect.

With stimulus packages as with startups’ business plans: It’s not how much you spend, it’s about the return on investment.


Alejandro González Ormerod
Historian, writer, and editor from Mexico City. He was a book publisher, academic, and cheesemonger before joining Contxto. Still deciding on which Latin American country to visit next; food and fun are the main criteria.



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