History

The Eurochile Business Foundation is a pioneering initiative of the European Community and the State of Chile. Eurochile officially started on 12 March 1993, with a ceremony during which the then-Presidents Patricio Aylwin of Chile and Jacques Delors of the European Commission signed a mutual cooperation and joint work agreement to benefit SMEs.

The foundation is meant to serve as a bridge between Chile and the member countries of the European Union; a bridge for entrepreneurship, technology partnerships and good practice exchange. The concept of mutual benefit is nowadays a key concept in the relations between the European Union and Latin America.

To fulfill this role as a connecting bridge, Eurochile has developed multiple platforms, has provided dozens of cooperation agreements, and has joined powerful European and Latin American programs and networks. Eurochile has taken full advantage of the opportunities to open dialogue and collaborate with entrepreneurs, local authorities and European institutions. And that has been put into practice through four main action lines:

  • Business promotion to and from Europe. The objective is to inform SMEs about the business opportunities with Europe and vice versa, and to facilitate the conclusion of commercial partnerships.
  • Transfer of technology and European know-how. The aim is to promote and facilitate cooperation and the transfer of models, technologies, knowledge, good practices and innovations between Chilean and European SMEs and institutions.
  • Local and territorial development, associativity and clusters. Eurochile works to promote associativity so that European and Chilean companies and institutions work in a collaborative way in a particular territory, thus contributing to the competitiveness and productivity of the regions.
  • Development of Fora and Platforms. We provide the opportunity to discuss emerging issues that are relevant to the business and institutional cooperation between Chile and the EU. The aim is to develop networks and/or projects around these issues.

Short history:

1994: Eurochile enters the economic cooperation program of the European Commission, AL- INVEST which has as main objective the internationalization of Latin American SMEs. That's when the first B2B meetings take place between European and Chilean entrepreneurs.

1995:The Eurobusiness Center is created- the first information center on European markets and standards- to boost business development.

1995: FORMATUR takes shape- the training for trainers’ tourism program for the transfer of knowledge, technologies and management techniques from Europe to the Chilean tourism industry. Since then, the institution has helped developing the potential of the tourism industry and particularly the niche of special interests’ tourism, which is one of the priority sectors of Eurochile, along with the food sector and the environment.

1997: Eurochile implements the Project "Biotechnology Star" which aims at creating Chilean-European joint investment trade agreements in biotechnology.

2000: The EuroChilean Tourism Institute (ITUR) is created and receives nearly 3,000 students over the following years. ITUR complemented the specialized training offer in the national tourism sector, covering the growing needs registered.

2001: Eurochile opens an office in the UK to support its activities and projects, promote and develop new business opportunities for Chilean and European businesses, as well as establish a network of contacts and collaborators. Two years later, a pilot program was launched with the purpose of promoting investment from the UK to attract British technology companies to develop their projects in Chile. The plan was driven under the "High Tech Promotion and Investment Attraction Program" developed by CORFO and the Foreign Investment Committee.

2002: Eurochile supports the signing of the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation EU-Chile and creates the Business Information Center to support SMEs in identifying opportunities brought by the Association Agreement EU-Chile. The Agreement has produced an increase in trade by an average 30.3% annually. For Chile, it meant gaining access to a preferential market of more than 503 million potential buyers.

2002:"Valparaíso Patrimonial" is created; a public-private investment program to strengthen the long-distance tourism in Chile. This has been one of the first projects that has contributed to the sustainable development of national destinations and a way to improve the conditions of tourism SMEs in the region. The focus was on participatory work with local authorities and SMEs to develop a more integrated and attractive tourist offer, taking advantage of the European experience.

2008: Eurochile becomes the only institution in Latin America for the use of the Enterprise Europe Network which has over 600 centers in 52 countries.

2008: Eurochile Business Platform (EBP) project is created which sets the Eurochile Foundation as the perfect business partner for national SMEs wishing to export food products to the EU.

2009: The Model of Tourism Destination Management is implemented.

2011:The projects "Model for the internationalization of horticulture SMEs" and "Management of the Destination Easter Island" successfully complete.

2011: The club "Chile Spa" is created with the purpose of developing joint marketing strategies and positioning of the spa tourism in Chile and abroad.

2013: Eurochile organizes in Santiago the CELAC-EU Business Meeting which marked a change in the pattern of the preceding Business Summits by giving voice to SMEs in an event of relevant political participation.

2013: Eurochile launches the project "Implementation of nanoscience, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies in Latin America" in order to strengthen local research for the implementation of nanotechnology in the areas of greatest social challenge in Latin America: energy, water and health.

2013: Eurochile supports the commercialization of innovative Chilean companies helping them to get different European quality certifications, such as Biosphere for sustainability, EuropeSpa for hot springs and SPAs, and Starlight for astro tourism.

2015:Eurochile organizes a technological and trade mission that includes 47 SMEs, mainly from the gourmet food sector, to visit Expo Milano in order to get a sense of the technological and business experience of Northern Italy. The Chilean companies also participated in B2B meeting with European and Latin American SMEs.

2015: Eurochile becomes one of the contact points in Latin America for the Latin America IPR Helpdesk project. This EC project aims to support and guide SMEs regarding intellectual property rights both in Europe and Latin America.

2016:The foundation organizes a massive B2B event in the sustainability area to promote the concept of circular economy. The event took place during the visit of the EC Director of Environment, Daniel Calleja and gathered over 140 European and Chile SMEs and institutions.

2016: Eurochile becomes a member of ELAN Network, a European technology-based business network that promotes cooperation between European and Latin American companies. The project aims to create a self-sustainable network that promotes long-lasting alliances that generate technology transfer, particularly in the areas of renewable energies, new materials, TIC, health, environmental technologies, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

The following figures summarize the results of Eurochile’s achievements:

  • 3,743 Chilean SMEs have participated of 216 commercial or technological B2B meetings.
  • 24,142 SMEs have benefited from 251 training programs and seminars.
  • 320 European experts have been brought to Chile
  • 4,320 SMEs have benefited from 96 development projects using European expertise
  • 247 technology transfer initiatives were launched by Eurochile