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The Silicon Valley Spirit Goes Global

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Watch out, Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach: there’s a new, thriving global start-up scene in town—or rather, on multiple continents. From South America to the Indian Subcontinent, entrepreneurs, venture capital firms and established American startups are looking to grow their ideas outside of California and the U.S. altogether.

In India, for instance, the New York Times reports that more than 40 U.S.-based VC firms have opened offices or branches in India over the last eight years. Adventurous entrepreneurs are landing in Mumbai or Bangalore to target the large middle class population with ideas for increasing efficiency or solving a major need. But once there, many of the company founders are dealing with challenges they didn’t have to think about back at home.

For one, it’s more challenging to recruit good employees into a startup in India. Whereas college graduates flock to the Bay Area or Santa Monica for the chance to join a fledgling startup, unknown, risky businesses aren’t considered as cool in India; employees would prefer a large, stable company for career growth as opposed to stock incentives.

And the path to get basic things done like opening a bank account, turning on the power, or installing Internet can be ridden with red tape and corruption. Governmental support is not guaranteed, either. The New York Times cites the case of Saf Labs where the Indian government reduced funding for certain biotech initiatives and left the previously profitable company in a tough financial situation.

On the other hand, one country that’s making it an official goal to attract startups to their shores is Chile. Start-Up Chile, a government-sponsored program, has intentions of attracting eager entrepreneurs hoping to change the world and make Chile into “the definitive innovation and entrepreneurial hub of Latin America.”

Apparently it’s catching the right eyeballs. According to the program’s website, more than 1,000 entrepreneurs submitted their ideas during the last application round and only 100 were chosen to receive no-strings-attached seed money (to the tune of $40,000 USD) and in-country support. Part of the agreement requires the entrepreneur to mentor locals, network within the community and sell the idea of startups almost as much as the startup itself. “There is a cultural change that needs to take place in Chile,” stated Horacio Melo, cofounder of Start-Up Chile. “We need Chileans to be inclined to innovation, to embrace risk and failure, and not to be afraid of making their businesses go global.”

Sounds like a great gig if you can get it. Selected entrepreneurs are required to stay in the country a minimum of only six months. “We are more than happy to ‘let them go’ once they are done with the program, because they already made a significant social impact and, as a public policy, that’s what we care about the most,” added Melo.

The good news is, if you’re looking to start a business of your own you don’t have to go as far as Chile or India to do so—you don’t even need to have a passport. When you’re ready, LegalZoom offers a host of services to start your own small business including incorporation, intellectual property protection and legal assistance through its legal plans.

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April 23rd, 2014 at 8:26 am