Chile’s SQM (NYSE: SQM), the world’s second largest lithium producer, is calling on startups with innovative solutions in the fields of water usage, lithium and electromobility to join the third round of its corporate acceleration program.
The water stream of the program aims to discover applied technologies that enhance efficiency in consumption, loss, evaporation and availability in Chile.
The second vertical seeks initiatives that improve hydrometallurgy, chemical, energy, and/or carbon footprint processes applicable to lithium production.
In electromobility, or e-mobility, SQM is seeking projects that help reduce CO2 emissions at mining operations.
The top 10 selected companies will receive financial support of $25,000, mentoring and the possibility of additional funding from SQM Lithium Ventures, a corporate venture capital fund launched in late 2022 that aims to accelerate entrepreneurship in the different stages of the lithium production chain.
Corporate venture capital is consolidating as a valuable alternative for new or emerging companies with a scientific and technological foundation, emphasizing innovation and scalability. For startups, this approach provides access to corporate leverage, intelligent financing, networks, and brand recognition.
For the company, said SQM Lithium Ventures Director María de los Ángeles Romo, it represents an external source of creativity, enabling exploration into new products and markets.
“It refreshes corporate culture, incorporates new talent, creates value for the company and its customers, allowing the discovery of new technologies, and connecting with the local and global entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Romo said.
Last year, a total of 151 startups participated in the program and 11 of them presented at a “demo day” held in Antofagasta, where they explained their proposals and how they envision a collaborative relationship with SQM.
The call for applications is open until February 19.