SQM has announced a new initiative: “SQM Lithium Ventures Corporate Acceleration Program” in collaboration with Endeavor Atacama. The companies are looking for entrepreneurs from Chile and around the world who provide innovative solutions to address the challenges of the lithium business.
SQM Lithium Ventures, an unprecedented initiative in the country that seeks to accelerate entrepreneurship in its different stages in the Antofagasta Region, Chile and the world, was launched at the end of 2022. The objective of the program is to find and promote new technologies and innovations related to lithium.
“At SQM we recognize the value of entrepreneurs and startups and want to accompany them from the earliest stages of development to scaling, while also attracting technological talent and investing in the startups,” the miner said in a statement.
Selected entrepreneurs will receive $25,000 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 is to find projects that solve lithium business challenges in one of three verticals: The first is sustainability, which focuses on finding applied technologies to improve efficiencies in water consumption, loss, evaporation, and availability in Chile.
The second is related to efficient processes, where SQM is looking for initiatives aimed at improving hydrometallurgical and chemical processes, energy, and carbon footprint, which may have applications in lithium production.
The third and last key area is electromobility, a pillar that seeks technologies or innovations that increase the added value, social impact, and speed of adoption, among others, of this market.
After the application period, a jury of SQM business specialists and Endeavor business design experts will pre-select 25 entrepreneurs or startups, of which up to 10 will be part of the final program. They will be accompanied by SQM experts and Endeavor mentors through mentoring sessions and workshops, in order to develop their value propositions, business models and gauge the impact of the challenges of the lithium business.
This corporate venture capital fund was launched in Antofagasta, a region that will play a leading role as a natural laboratory, recognized for its high potential for business development and scaling.
“At SQM we are betting on a corporate venture capital fund to accompany entrepreneurs from the earliest stages to the scaling phases,” María de los Ángeles Romo, director of SQM Corporate Venture said in the statement.
“The value of the link with entrepreneurs, technology and startups allows us as an organization to have a greater speed of reaction to Los challenges that the market demands, such as reductions in water use, new applications for lithium and processes associated with product yield and electromobility and value-added initiatives. In this way, as a company we will be better prepared to solve global problems, with a local and sustainable approach,” she said.
The application process is open and will run until April 7. Entrepreneurs may apply with initiatives, ideas, or projects. They do not need to be incorporated or have sales. More information is available here.