Strengthening Iquique’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with the Nothing Stops Us Championship
Cristián Sáez won a Ch$3 million prize in the latest Nothing Stops Us National Entrepreneurship Championship in Iquique, a joint initiative by G100, SQM and the local municipality.
In keeping with its ongoing commitment to the entrepreneurial world and productive development, SQM sponsors several innovation contests to support small business owners, entrepreneurs and start-up business ideas seeking to formalize and launch operations.
These efforts in different provinces of the Tarapacá and Antofagasta regions generate shared social value, contributing to quality of life and innovation and strengthening partnerships to achieve goals. These values are part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
At the exciting final round of the latest Nothing Stops Us (Nada Nos Detiene, NND) National Entrepreneurship Championship in Iquique, ten local entrepreneurs crowned Cristián Sáez, owner of Pulpobox, the champion and winner of the three million peso prize.
The contest was open to entrepreneurs with businesses and/or residential addresses in the municipality. All registrants participated in the initiative’s training stages, acquiring knowledge and tools to strengthen their businesses.
The jury – comprised of SQM Head of Nitrate and Iodine Production Development Alejandro Fernández, INACAP Teacher Katherine Urrejola and G100 Partner Johanna Reyes – recognized two entries with honorable mention. Daniela Berríos, founder of Imprenta Braille Tarapacá (Tarapacá Braille Printing Press), and Diego Vigueras, owner of Ecoturismo Garuma (Garuma Ecotourism), received Ch$1 million each.
Imprenta Braille Tarapacá seeks to break down information access barriers for people with visual disabilities. They facilitate social inclusion by offering transcription and printing services in Braille. Ecoturismo Garuma offers marine ecotourism by boat along the coast of Iquique. They provide equipment, like binoculars, to enrich observation. Field guides compliment the experience by describing and introducing the area’s marine fauna.
The winner, Pulpobox, is an inclusive training center that promotes sports and health in the most sedentary population. Its training method involves one-hour workouts that enable anyone to work out problem-free and reach different goals.
As a sprinter and CrossFit lover, Cristián Sáez created Pulpobox, a health and training center, in 2016. The small, Iquique born-and-bred (as he likes to emphasize) company started in a residential driveway and has grown into a health and sports center. “We started with friends and ten participants. Today, more than 600 people have trained and been treated with us,” says Sáez. He commented that the NND first-place prize “comes in handy since we are opening a new facility. These funds will help us build and strengthen the brand.”
Activating the ecosystem
In addition to NND, SQM has implemented competitive funding grant programs for local small businesses in the last two years. The Activa Pisagua program, which is in its second year, focuses on residents of Pisagua, a historic fishing village seeking to revive itself through innovative business ideas. Another example is Academia Mujer and its Mujer Inclusiva fund for females over 55 who have disabilities or are caregivers.
On January 31, the company will wrap up its Activa Digital innovation project. Conducted with Apanio and the Simon de Cyrene Foundation, the initiative trained dozens of entrepreneurs in Antofagasta and Tarapacá, creating their e-commerce to digitize their businesses, increase their profits and improve their quality of life.