This article first appeared in La Nación  on December 12, 216.

The obstacles to entrepreneurship and the blind eye to bad practices are the main factors that tarnish the business reality of our country. However, it is essential to raise awareness as a country, from the public and private sectors.

Today, several Chilean companies boast of being multinationals because they are in countries such as Peru and Colombia. However, their reality and ours as citizens is still Latin American and therefore very local and closed. A shameful example of this is that in Chile we do not talk about peace in Colombia, for example, or the Petrobras crisis, issues that should be discussed daily as part of the collective culture.
Faced with this reality, it is urgent to understand that we live in a globalized world, since today, thanks to connectivity, we know about cases of corruption in the rest of the world, a situation that should serve as an example for our own reality.
First and foremost, and in order to stop bad practices such as collusion in companies, it is urgent to encourage the entry of new players into the market, to promote new businesses and thus generate more and better competition. But it is undoubtedly an uphill task if we analyze our reality: it is practically impossible for an entrepreneur to enter a supermarket with a new product, or to obtain financing to develop, for example, another brand of tissue paper.
It is also essential to realize that we cannot continue producing everything we lack, and it is necessary to start opening international barriers to encourage foreign competition.
Without this, it is extremely easy to fall into problems as obvious as those that have occurred in Chile: bad practices are evident in an industry where there are only two competitors. Let’s open our eyes!
However, it is essential to raise awareness as a country, from both the public and private sectors. Companies should be aware that it is likely to fall into bad practices, and to avoid it, training is urgent.
For this, in addition to encouraging internal education in a firm, it is necessary to teach the disincentive of bad practices also in universities and business schools.
Today, young professionals who have recently graduated are a little more in tune with reality; they are the ones who have in their hands the tools to work and build businesses in which good practices prevail. Let’s hope that they and their knowledge spread massively to Chilean entrepreneurs.

By Susana Sierra