From Employee To Entrepreneur In Valparaiso


Global Diaspora Week 2015 reached as far as Valparaiso, Chile. Our event was hosted by Fundacion P!ensa (Think!), as part of their regional talent retention area. The event highlighted how immigrants are likely to spot opportunities and become entrepreneurs.

After a welcome tour of the foundation’s new facilities at the New Valparaiso Port Station, three speakers presented their experiences on transitioning from Employees to Entrepreneurs. They were Lawson Caudill (US – StartupValpo’s first beneficiary) Founder of Think Tank Inc. and Software architect for CoMetrics, moving into the city less than a month before the conference; Luis Conejo (Spain) Co-Founder of Asociamos and Regional Director of the NGO “Acción Emprendedora” being in Valparaiso for over a year, and Dunetchka Cerpa (Venezuela) Managing Director of Miss Earth Valparaiso and Viña del Mar and in charge of Marketing and events at the regional Industry association “ASIVA”, she has been in the city for six years.

Special guests included Daniela Ramirez Miss Earth Valparaiso; Nicole Pinto, Miss Earth Viña del Mar and Fernanda Chandía, Miss Air Viña & Valparaiso. Walter Liewald, Founder of and Director of the Regional Entrepreneurs Association ASECH, was the host and moderator, he presented data from various entrepreneurial ecosystems highlighting that 52% of Startups in Silicon Valley are founded by immigrants. He also shared that he was born in Valparaiso but lived most of his life abroad, returning to the city to become an entrepreneur in 2012.

Having faced the same obstacles as immigrant Entrepreneurs, Walter Liewald founded StartupValpo to help fellow Entrepreneurs get settled and to attract International Investors and talent to strengthen the regional ecosystem. After the event, the 40 attendees and speakers continued the conversation over dinner with a nice view of the port at the Zamba & Canuta restaurant.

Group shot

(Pictured Left to Right – Lawson Caudill, Fernanda Chandía, Walter Liewald, Daniela Ramirez, Luis Conejo, Nicole Pinto, Dunetchka Cerpa)

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