Friday, November 8th marked the completion of Know Hub Chile’s inaugural “Know Hub Ignition” program in partnership with UC Riverside’s Office of Technology Partnerships (OTP), which took teams of Chilean entrepreneurs through an intensive training program in customer discovery and commercialization, culminating with a week-long immersion in Riverside, California.
UCR and its partner, Know Hub Chile a consortium of 11 universities and research institutions in Chile, strategically collaborate to further innovation and entrepreneurship in Chile by supporting the transfer of research out of the lab and into the market.
The Know Hub Ignition program was launched in the spring of 2019. Of 53 applications from across the country, the top 11 Chilean teams of entrepreneurs were selected to participate in the program. The two-phase program began with 10 weeks of intensive entrepreneurial on-site and virtual training that focused on customer discovery and market validation based on the NSF I-Corps methodology. Over the course of the program, each team was paired with a mentor from OTP to guide the team’s process and facilitate connections with commercialization stakeholders.
At the end of the 10-week experiential training program the teams presented their pitches in Santiago, Chile in front of the Chilean investment community, industry, Know Hub Chile, and UCR. Four teams were selected as winners and were invited to travel to Riverside for the second phase of the program, for a week-long immersion. The week-long immersion provided the teams with a full networking agenda, introductions to key stakeholders, interviews with relevant experts and potential partners as well as feedback from a panel of investors from Southern California. The teams made meaningful contacts, some of which translated to securing interest in industry partnerships and research collaborations.
Through this program, UCR has been able to transverse physical and cultural borders working collaboratively and adapting its programs to accelerate commercialization of Chilean technologies, some of which may be later established in Riverside as they enter the US market. This mutually beneficial relationship is one example of UCR having a global impact.
“UCR is playing an important role in the advancement of entrepreneurship and technology commercialization in Chile through its partnership with Know Hub Chile, as well as through conversations with Chilean government officials that see the value in our expertise,” said Rosibel Ochoa, associate vice chancellor of technology partnerships. “UCR’s experience and networks are important for us because as a country we need to create our own ecosystem that can support technology transfer and also because we are far away from the technology hubs in the world,” remarked Javier Ramírez, executive director of Know Hub Chile. “The exposure of our teams to the US entrepreneurial ecosystem together with the program teachings and the mentoring have been an invaluable help to get the technologies closer to the market,” said Fernando Venegas, chief technology transfer officer for Know Hub Chile.
The work of UCR in Chile has initiated important conversations within Chile and other countries about how to design and implement entrepreneurial and innovation initiatives across Latin America.