Chapter 13. Chile

Figure 13.1. Structure and performance of the SME sector in Chile
Figure 13.1. Structure and performance of the SME sector in Chile

Note: Data on SME sector and performance for Chile are drawn from national sources and may not be comparable with OECD statistics that are presented in the other country profiles of this publication.

Source: Chile’s Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism based on the fourth longitudinal business survey 2015.


SME business conditions and access to strategic resources

Institutional and regulatory framework

Over the last two decades, Chile has put priority on making SME business environment more attractive. Since 2018, the government is developing, a new platform for easing SMEs and entrepreneurs’ interactions with the State. The programme integrates Tu Empresa En Un Día, the main platform for starting up a company, with complementary services such as electronic signature, access to bank accounts or digital municipal permits. In addition, the Office of Productivity and National Entrepreneurship (OPEN) was created in 2018, following OECD recommendations on regulatory policy and productivity. OPEN was responsible for proposing a project of Productivity and Regulatory Coherence Reports to the legislature. Besides, the 2019 Law of Payment in 30 Days sets a mandatory period for invoice payment, including by the public sector. The Law applies interests to late payments and foresees measures for simplifying invoice collection such as the Electronic Dispatch Guide.

Market conditions

SME share in exports is particularly low in Chile (2% as compared to around 25% in the EU). Since 2016, a foreign trade facilitation unit coordinates public and private initiatives for trade promotion and SICEX, a digital single window, supports international trade transactions. The government has also limited the double taxation of service exports and exempted services used abroad from VAT. In 2016, the investment promotion agency, InvestChile, was reformed. 16 regional centres for SMEs were created through ProChile to ease access to foreign markets.


Between 2010 and 2016, Chile experienced one of the most rapid adoption of mobile broadband in the OECD area, with an 8-fold increase in subscriptions per inhabitant. However, access to fixed broadband is low by OECD standards. Average connection speed (5 mb/s) is four times slower than in Korea (2017) and the urban-rural divide in broadband access is among the greatest in the area, with rural coverage at 57%. The Digital Agenda 2020 aims to improve access and effective use of digital infrastructure, e.g. by extending the optical fibre to all Chile or through specific programmes, such as training for SMEs.

Access to finance

After the post-crisis slowdown in access to finance, SME share in credit lending increased to 20.7% in 2017, the highest level of the decade, mainly driven by the demand of micro and small firms. Yet, credit conditions for SMEs have tightened in recent years due to more restrictive supply. Equity financing has a secondary role in SME financing landscape in Chile but several initiatives are in place for reinforcing venture capital supply and SME access to alternative instruments. In 2017, CORFO launched the SME Credit Programme to improve SME access to alternative sources of finance and non-bank financial intermediaries. Chile’s Fintech Industry has experienced rapid growth over 2016-17, with over 70 companies offering diverse financial services to SMEs. Regulation for the industry is under development by the Ministry of Finance and the Financial Stability Council.

Access to skills

Low adult literacy levels weight on firms’ productivity in Chile. In particular, Chile lags behind OECD countries in terms of skills for the future, with only 3% of graduates in ICT and 1% in natural sciences, maths and statistics. Few adults have opportunities to access workplace training, particularly women, rural or indigenous groups. The government launched the Professional Technical Training Strategy (2018-30), a roadmap for improving vocational training, and a National Qualification Framework is under development. Since 2016, grants support “free education” admission for vulnerable students and will be extended to higher income populations as from 2019.

Access to innovation assets

Chilean SME spend above the OECD median on R&D, especially small firms. However, their integration into innovation networks remains among the lowest of the area. The PyMELab CORFO programme aims to enhance regional innovation ecosystems by creating knowledge networks and increasing the participation of the regions in innovation projects with companies. In 2016, the government also established EspacioPyme under the Digital Agenda 2020 to promote SME technological adoption. The platform offers assistance in the selection, download and adaptation of software to specific business requirements. Digitaliza Tu Pyme is also a new programme seeking to increase SME sales, lower their costs and improve their relationship with customers and suppliers, through digital technologies.

The full country profile is available at


Camara de Comercio de Santiago (2017), eCommerce en Chile se aproximará los US$5.000 millones en 2018, (accessed on 15 November 2018).

Ministerio de Economía Fomento y Turismo (n.d.), EspacioPyme, (accessed on 15 November 2018).

Ministerio de Economía, Fomento y Turismo (n.d.), Productivity for Inclusive Growth 2014-2018 Roadmap, (accessed on 15 November 2018).

Ministerio Secretaria General de Gobierno (2018), Modernización Tributaria: ¿Cómo será el trato preferente para las pymes?, Gobierno de Chile,

MNE Tax (2018), Sweeping Chile Tax Reform Plan Proposes Tax on Digital Services, Restores Corporate Tax Integration,

OECD (2018), Chile, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2018), OECD Economic Surveys: Chile 2018, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2016), Regulatory Policy in Chile: Government Capacity to Ensure High-Quality Regulation, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD/UN (2018), Production Transformation Policy Review of Chile: Reaping the Benefits of New Frontiers, OECD Development Pathways, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Servicio Nacional de Capacitación y Empleo (n.d.), Programa +Capaz, (accessed on 15 November 2018).

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