Team:UC Chile/Entrepreneurs



Entrepreneurship level dissemination

Chile's investment in R&D is very low for a country aiming to become developed. In the year 2010, barely a 0,4% of the chilean GDP were invested in the biotechnological industry, which is well below from the OECD countries (business Chile magazine). To further improve research in Synthetic Biology it is mandatory to generate the need from companies for applications made with this discipline. To increase the investment in this field and potentiate the SynBio among the Chilean business, we organized an activity in colaboration with Sofofa: the Federation of Chilean Industry. The businessmen were invited to the laboratory, to learn techniques used in Synthetic Biology, and to discuss its uses. They were very receptive and gave us really good ideas for products they would like to get into the market.

To complete the analogy of spreading Synthetic Biology into the city, we organized an activity with businessmen. The idea was to let them know about SynBio and its applications so they could see the potential of SynBio in the market.

The event was organized in conjunction with Federation of Chilean Industry (Sofofa), which consisted on a bunch of activities involving science and business, specifically with the activity "¡Vamos al lab!" (Let’s go to the lab!). To this activity were invited companies managers who could use and/or need some synthetic biology technologies in their products or processes.

The main idea of the workshop was to bring Synthetic Biology to the business community, so that in the future they know they can find answers of industrial problems in SynBio. For this reason, the focus was on showing the industrial side of this area of science, commenting on current cases of different companies that have used this approach to solve their problems. Also it was mentioned the importance of iGEM competition in the area, highlighting important achievements of previous teams in the competition.

Furthermore, as a way to show how easy it can be set a single organism, such as E. coli, in a production machine, the same entrepreneurs, once understood the technique of Gibson Assembly, could design their own constructs with different fluorescent proteins that they after used to transform bacteria. By this way it was possible to bring closer the guests with the SynBio, and in a more didactic way than just a talk on the subject.

On the other hand, considering that Chile has an important biotechnological potential, it isn't harnessed because the research and business worlds are not able to communicate properly. Because of this problem, we wanted to incorporate in the day, a conversation between the businessmen and some professors of the Faculty of Biological Sciences of our university that are leading to a biotech and industrial level their researches. The idea was that both sectors show their views on working together, what they need of each other to achieve something important in a scientific and economic way.

The comments at the end of the day were very good, both entrepreneurs and professors were excited to find a way for further work together. Moreover, the executives were amazed at the versatility of SynBio in different industries. We hope that in the near future they would like to invest in research in SynBio for their problems in industrial processes or new products.