It is always so energizing when traveling abroad to see the venture capital model driving the local innovation economy. This past week I was fortunate enough to visit with investors and entrepreneurs in Chile, which has a significant comparative advantage in technologies that directly impact the environment, leading the country to be described as one of the most extraordinary “natural laboratories” in the world. The challenge now confronting Chilean leaders is whether they will institute the necessary reforms and incentives to build a sustainable culture of entrepreneurship.
Notwithstanding the tremendous dependency on the global markets for commodities like copper, one is also reminded that much larger forces are at work that can whipsaw emerging markets like Chile. It was a momentous week for leaders around the world who happen to do business in Panama as revelations there underscore the level of corruption present in many of these markets. Given the extraordinary talent I met in Chile, I am quite encouraged by the potential to quickly drive important advances in mining, solar, and agricultural technologies among others.