Exporter Ecosystem

The centralism that inhibits the exports of Chilean SMEs

The pandemic has led us all to rethink how we do things and reinvent ourselves in order to continue doing business, in a world that will obviously not be the same. We wonder about markets and sales channels that we did not think before, in search of new opportunities.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, it is an obvious phenomenon. Companies that two years ago were in their comfort zone, marketing their products in a "captive" market, now see with different eyes the possibility of opening up new niches in search of customers that allow them to keep their businesses afloat, or find that long-awaited growth opportunity. 

The forced boom in technology and hyper connectivity that we lived in the first months of this health crisis, led to the delivery of information through different channels such as: webinars, talks, workshops, E-books and much material aimed at interested entrepreneurs to venture into the internationalization of its sales. 

In this context, state bodies play an important role in fostering and promoting ventures with export potential, such as ProChile, which, although it has shown proactivity in the face of new circumstances, it is worth wondering if the traditional model of support and assistance , is what the entrepreneurial sector with export projects really requires. 

There are figures that support some inconsistencies and unequal opportunities. When reviewing official figures on exports *, during 2020 the total number of exporting companies was 9.178, registering a fall of 6,4% compared to the previous year, with small companies leading this decrease with a decrease of 15% compared to the year previous. 

On the other hand, the data show a notorious centralism. The Metropolitan region has 44% of the total number of companies that made international shipments, well above the O'Higgins Region in second place with 9,9%, followed by Maule with 9,3% and Valparaíso with 8,2 %. 

Funds to export.

ProChile's traditional Contest for the Promotion of Silvoagropecuarias Exports, registers a decrease in its budget between 2015 and 2018, a trend that was reversed in 2019 with an increase of 7% compared to the previous year, reaching $ 3.718 million. However, due to the pandemic, in 2020 the budget was only approximately $ 1.114 million, highlighting the case of the Tarapacá and La Araucanía regions that did not receive funds during 2020. Predictable in the midst of the crisis, except for the damage to The companies that, in some cases, said cuts were applied in the midst of the pandemic when many of the companies had already planned their commercial actions and modified their commercial export strategy.

The inequity in the distribution of public contributions continues. Once again, the Tarapacá region did not receive funds for the execution of projects, in contrast to the Metropolitan region that doubled its budget, or the O'Higgins and Ñuble regions that received more than $ 100 million additional to the previous year. 

“In the sixth, particularly, in 2020, 14 projects were financed and for this year only 15 winning projects are registered, with an obviously larger budget. This unequal scenario, added to the lack of effective advice to companies that wish to export, achieves the opposite effect: ventures become discouraged and slow down their scalability ”, asserts Jaime Hidalgo, specialist in International Business at Neotrade.

Although the last Imacec of 18,1% shows an improvement in the economy, it is thanks to the low base of comparison with respect to the previous year, when the pandemic and its effects were just beginning. "What should worry today, or rather occupy, is that various national and international institutions are correcting down the projections for 2022 and 2023, which shows the need to strengthen the export fabric, especially from the base," being the micro and small companies those that contribute a high diversification, in terms of product and the added value that they generate ”, maintains the executive. 

From Neotrade, they assure that even more important, is to support companies in their "preparation" to increase their competitiveness, for which it is essential that institutions such as Prochile allocate a greater amount of resources to support and strengthen export capacities in companies of smaller size. If there is no willingness to allocate more resources, the important role of private companies that serve as executing agents and / or consultants, specialized in international business, must be recognized, and cooperation links can be generated, creating a network that helps micro and small companies. companies that are in an early stage of internationalization.

* Requested by the Transparency Law.

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