SQM Lithium Ventures Corporate Acceleration Program is the name of the SQM-Endeavor Atacama program looking for entrepreneurs from Antofagasta, Chile and the world to provide innovative solutions that address the challenges of the lithium business.
SQM recognizes how valuable entrepreneurs and their startups are, and seeks to guide them from the earliest stages of development through scaling up, drawing technological talent to become partners, and integrating them as key players in the economic, social and environmental progress of our country, from Chile to the world.
With this in mind, the SQM Lithium Ventures Corporate Acceleration Program focuses on entrepreneurs and startups from Chile and around the world that offer transformative solutions and opportunities to address the challenges facing Chile’s lithium industry. The selected entrepreneurs will receive a USD 25,000 grant from SQM, strategic support for defining and scaling their businesses and the possibility of accessing subsequent financing through the SQM Lithium Ventures fund, among other funding opportunities.
The focus of this call for submissions is to find projects that solve lithium business challenges in one of these three verticals: Sustainability, which focuses on finding applied technologies to improve efficiencies in the consumption, loss, evaporation and availability of water in Chile; Lithium, which is related to efficient processes, where initiatives are sought to improve hydro-metallurgical and chemical processes, energy and carbon footprint, which may have applications in lithium production; and Electromobility, a pillar that seeks technologies or innovations which increase factors like added value, social impact and speed of adoption on this market.
Entrepreneurs may apply until Monday, July 17, via the form available at https://sqm.charly.io/auth/sign_in. Additional details are available on the web page http://bitly.ws/Bef3 where the terms and conditions are available for download. Importantly, the initiatives, ideas or projects do not necessarily have to be already set up or have current sales.
Application and selection
After the application period, a jury of SQM business specialists and Endeavor business design experts will pre-select 25 entrepreneurs or startups, of which 10 will be part of the final program. SQM experts and Endeavor mentors will accompany program participants through mentoring sessions and workshops as they develop their value propositions and business models and assess the impact on the challenges facing the lithium business.
Throughout the process, participants will have access to Investment Readiness to support them in the key factors for success in business development; an Advisory Board with technical mentors from SQM and Endeavor’s global network; Business Strengthening through workshops and academies; access to the Community and Networking, opportunities to exchange experiences and best practices; and access to a local and global Financing Network for subsequent stages. They will also be invited to participate in visits to SQM’s plants and the Salar de Atacama, among others. Subsequently, participants will present their projects at a Demo Day, which is the entrepreneurs’ final opportunity to explain how their proposals provide solutions to the future challenges posed and how they envisage the relationship with SQM.
“At SQM, we are betting on a corporate venture capital fund to accompany entrepreneurs from the earliest stages to the scaling phases,” says María de los Ángeles Romo, Director of SQM Corporate Venture in the office of the Senior Vice President of Lithium. “This connection with entrepreneurs, technology and startups allows us to react more quickly to market demands, such as reductions in water use, new applications for lithium and processes associated with product yield and electromobility and value-added initiatives. Thus, as a company, we will be better prepared to solve global problems with a local, sustainable approach,” she concludes.
Gonzalo Yun, Manager of Endeavor Atacama, emphasized: “We appreciate that SQM, a regional company with global impact in the development of non-metallic mining, seeks solutions and development in lithium technology, electromobility and water management. Endeavor’s role will be to link a select group of global entrepreneurs to the region through strategic support with our network of mentors in various areas, including strategic planning, technological development and support for raising capital. Strategically supporting this group of regional entrepreneurs with a global perspective is vital given the lithium industry’s international impact and importance.”