Kick-off for Bi-regional Program ‘Sustainability Challenges’ Attracted Large Crowd

Kick-off for Bi-regional Program ‘Sustainability Challenges’ Attracted Large Crowd


Entrepreneurs, micro and small enterprises and social organizations have until December 13th to apply for this program, which provides workshops and 30 million pesos in prizes for the finalists.

At a ceremony attended by various authorities, entrepreneurs and representatives from social organizations in the Tarapacá Region—as well as streaming viewers—the application process for the Sustainability Challenges program was launched. Organized by El Puerto Cowork, SQM and La Semilla Foundation, the initiative is targeted towards ideas or projects with a strong social and environmental component in the regions of Antofagasta or Tarapacá.

Entrepreneurs, social organizations and micro and small businesses that have an idea or solution to the four proposed challenges: environment, recycling, sustainable agriculture or inclusion and gender identity can apply at

Pablo Pisani, Director of Communities and Public Affairs for SQM’s Nitrate and Iodine businesses, explained: “For us, supporting this second version of the Sustainability Challenges is a source of great joy, because we seek to mobilize and motivate entrepreneurs who have an idea but need support. It is essential to look inward and examine how we do things for the good of society as a whole. In that sense, sustainability is key, how we give meaning to our work, which is linked to taking care of the only planet we have, and that is the great invitation we make through these challenges for the Antofagasta and Tarapacá regions. We seek to generate value in our communities from within the territories.”

The kick-off also featured Catalina Droguett, a journalist who is well known in the world of sustainability, ecology and human development, and Nicolás Morales, co-founder of Pegas con Sentido and B GIFT, with the talk “New Worlds = New Talents.”



The event also included a discussion entitled “Sustainability as an Axis for Entrepreneurship and Regional Development,” with the participation of Franklin Zepeda, founder of Ecofiber, and Jessica Soto, of Jallalla Vasos Verdes, enterprises that won the first version of the Sustainability Challenges for the Tarapacá Region, as well as Nicolás Morales as moderator.

Jessica Soto, of Jallalla Vasos Verdes, a company that repurposes glass bottles into personalized and hand-painted drinking glasses and raw materials for techniques like terrazzo or glass fusing, while also teaching the trade to women in vulnerable situations, referred to her role as an entrepreneur: “I am a mother of two children, a wife, and in order to be able to start a business, the most important thing is purpose. If you love what you do, you can instill it in your children and family. We must create a circular family economy, and with support, it can be done.”

Franklin Zepeda, of Ecofiber, an initiative that makes thermal insulation panels from waste generated at textile dumps in the north, commented: “Take advantage of these programs, because they will help you build momentum. Sometimes it is very difficult to say: how do I reach out to a large company for help? This is one alternative. My advice is to prepare a good pitch. Sometimes we have a very good idea, but we do not know how to transmit it. That’s fundamental.

Nicolás Morales, of Pegas con Sentido and B GIFT, said: “Fall in love with the problem, not the idea. Look at that challenge you want to solve, because maybe the first idea you have is not going to work but there are going to be a hundred thousand more. When we begin to connect with the important questions and begin to be aware of what’s going on next door, wonderful things happen.”



The first stage of the Sustainability Challenges consists of training workshops on topics such as sustainability, circular economy, social innovation and presentation of the four challenges. Next, the application process begins for those who participated in the first phase, to resolve the issues raised.

After a selection process, the initiatives will be enhanced through a boot camp (intensive training), with a workshop on Sustainable Business Models and Pitch training (briefly presenting a project), to give way to a day-long event for the finalists to defend their projects. This event culminates in selecting 5 winning projects for the Antofagasta Region and 5 for the Tarapacá Region, with total prizes of 30 million pesos.

This initiative is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at generating ideas or projects needed for communities or environments, with a social perspective and respect for the environment, helping generate a better future for the inhabitants of northern Chile.

The rules, program and registration form can be found at