How a 17-year old made a fortune in Chile
January 15, 2014
Santiago, Chile -
In 1892, 17 year old Pascual Baburizzastepped off the boat in what looked like an unwelcoming, arid landscape in thenorth of Chile.
Baburizza had just spent several weekson a boat travelling from his home island of Kolocep, Croatia, which was thenpart of the dying Austro-Hungarian empire.
Austria-Hungary was once one of the mostpowerful empires in the world… replete with grandiose palaces,monuments, and a huge army. It no longer exists.
And by the late 19th century, anunpromising future back in his homeland had forced Baburizza to leave and seekbetter prospects on the other side of the planet.
He quickly found a business opportunityas the region was going through a potassium nitrate boom. Rather than get intopotassium nitrate, though, he sold fish and meat to prospectors in thedesert… something like selling shovels to gold miners.
The business went so well that he soonbegan acquiring property and other companies, and eventually expanded intoagriculture.
In 1929, at the age of 54, he retired tolive in his palatial Italianate villa in Valparaíso on Chile’sbeautiful Pacific coast.
Baburizza’s story wouldn’tbe much different today, especially in Chile.
There are legions of enterprising,talented, and ambitious young people out there who have realized that theycannot fulfill their dreams back home in Europe or North America.
They’re looking elsewhere, andChile is receiving a number of them.
Down here, it’s possible forforeigners to obtain a job, start a business, or invest, all with relativeease. And the immigration laws make it easy for any productive foreigner tomove here.
The government’s funding program,Start Up Chile, has been a huge success in attracting talented people andinnovative businesses here. And with more talent, innovation, andcrosspollination the opportunities are expanding.
Just as in Baburizza’s time, thisplace is still brimming with business and investment opportunities. I comeacross them every day.
For example, there are enormous problemsto be solved (and money to be made) by catering to the needs of Argentinenationals across the Andes, who are once again getting hosed by theirgovernment.
That’s why Bitcoin-relatedservices are taking off here.
Satisfying the appetites of thegrowingly affluent Chileans is another substantial opportunity. Large parts ofSantiago provide a pleasant, first world standard of living.
And yet, the offerings here in theconsumer, retail, service, culture, and hospitality businesses still lag behindother places in the world with a similar standard of living.
The high-end service space is waiting tobe exploited—anything from fine dining restaurants, private schools,boutique hotels, sophisticated bars, etc.
Across the board, the level of serviceis something that can be greatly improved upon by anyone coming from a moreservice-oriented environment.
Every week I meet new foreigners whohave arrived and are overwhelmed at the business opportunities here. Back home,the competition (and regulation) would be suffocating.
But here, the startup costs are lower,the competition is almost nonexistent, and the opportunities to excel in athriving economy are abundant.
Pascual Baburizza didn’t wait forthings to get better. In his case, they got worse… until theAustro-Hungarian Empire disappeared altogether.
Today, the leap of faith to be made bychanging your geography is much smaller than it was in his time. It’spossible for anyone to do who has the courage and the vision to try.
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com