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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Digitalization of micro, small- and medium-sized companies is key focus at APEC SME Week

Training workshops for entrepreneurs conducted by Facebook, the launch of the Chilean economic development agency Corfo’s online SME grants, and the Fintech International Forum were among the activities that took place on the second day of APEC SME Week led by the Economy and Small Business Undersecretary, Ignacio Guerrero.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019. The Economy and Small Business Undersecretary Ignacio Guerrero led an agenda focused on the digitalization of micro, small- and medium-sized companies and on showing entrepreneurs how best to take advantage of innovation to improve their businesses. These activities are all part of APEC 2019 SME Week, which is being organized by the Economy Ministry in Chile’s Biobío Region.

The international event, which began on Monday, September 2 and runs until Friday, September 6, is focused on three main points: internationalization, digital transformation and financing for SMEs.

“One of the central issues being discussed during APEC SME Week is digitalization. This is not by chance: President Sebastián Piñera’s government is committed to tackling the challenges posed by this process and to providing support to our SMEs, helping them become more competitive by incorporating technology,” stated Undersecretary Guerrero.  Earlier in the morning he participated in the opening of the Fintech International Forum, also part of APEC SME Week.

The Undersecretary also highlighted the work that has been done as part of the Digitaliza tu Pyme (Digitalize your SME) program run by the Economy Ministry, efforts which have successfully created strategic alliances for training entrepreneurs. 

Facebook and online SME Grants

Undersecretary Guerrero also participated today in the Impulsa con Facebook Concepción (Promote with Facebook Concepción) event, which is being held for the very first time in this city and continues until tomorrow.

This activity, organized by Facebook, the Economy Ministry and APEC, is designed to open training pathways for Chilean entrepreneurs, teaching them how to use social networks as a means to help grow their businesses, increase sales and improve customer relationships. The four presentations are expected to provide training to more than 600 people from across the area. 

“We appreciate the joint efforts currently underway with Facebook to hold workshops in several regions that demonstrate the importance of digitalization,” the Undersecretary said.

During the event, Undersecretary Guerrero, together with Marinelly Díaz, who is in charge of public programs for Facebook, drew attention to two start-ups in the Biobío Region that have successfully undergone digitalization: the tourism SME Chile con Mochila (Chile with a Backpack), which was awarded a Capital Abeja Emprende (Entrepreneur Bee Capital) co-financing grant and ComeS, a platform that connects health food producers with consumers, which was granted Seed Capital from the Chilean economic development agency Corfo.  

For his final activity of the day, Undersecretary Guerrero, accompanied by the Biobío Regional Secretary of the Economy Ministry, Mauricio Gutiérrez, launched Beca Pymes en Línea (Online SME Grants), part of the Digitaliza tu Pyme program run by Corfo. Recipients learn how to easily create an e-commerce website that includes an online catalogue, shopping carts, online payment systems and a delivery logistics system.

“This award will benefit 1,500 micro businesses and SMEs in our country and 150 from the Biobío Region, helping them to adopt new digital technologies in order to increase sales, lower costs, improve relationships with customers and suppliers, and enhance competitiveness,” he also noted.   

Regional Secretary of the Economy Ministry, Mauricio Gutiérrez, stressed the importance of applying for a grant saying, “SMEs must undergo digitalization and enter this new era so that they do well both now and in the future.” Applications may be submitted until September 13 at 3:00pm on the Corfo website or at