Entrepreneurs in Argentina

We want to give your business the spark it needs to grow into something even bigger

Entrepreneurship is the engine that fuels economies. When businesses are born, sustained, and grown their impact reaches far beyond that of its founders. It has a positive impact on the customers they serve, the teams they employ, and the communities in which they live and work.

Because entrepreneurship is such a powerful tool, we want to provide a spark that ignites the launch and growth of businesses within Argentina.

No idea is too big or too early for consideration. All ideas are welcome. We are especially interested in concepts that bring forth solutions that impact underserved communities. All ideas have an equal chance of winning.

How to enter

Monday, October 22- Submissions open

Create a brief video that’s no longer than 5 minutes.

In the video include the following:

  • The problem you are solving
  • The reasons for us to believe that you are the one to solve this problem
  • A high-level overview of what you would do with the money to advance your business. Be sure to include key milestones

Fill out the simple application here. [INSERT LINK]

Friday, November 2- Submissions close

Fill out the application and submit your video to us by 5 pm

Friday, November 9 – Top 5 Finalists will be notified

If selected, you will be invited to pitch your idea to a panel of judges

Saturday, November 17 – Chispazo Inicial Pitch Event

Finalists will present their ideas in more detail to a panel of 5 expert judges. The event will be from 9am to 4pm.

Winners will be announced live at the end of the afternoon

What you will win

Grand prize

$5,000 USD

Coaching from business experts for 1 year

Second prize

$3,500 USD

Coaching from business experts for 1 year


$1,500 USD

Coaching from business experts for 1 year

4th and 5th place contestants will receive 3 coaching sessions with business experts.

About the co-founders

Sonia Thompson and Aliya Omer literally ran into each other in the bosques of Palermo in Buenos Aires and quickly connected as ex-pats from the United States. Each had moved to Argentina for different reasons. Sonia was seeking to dig in deeper to enjoy Argentine culture while growing her marketing consulting firm. Aliya moved to lead Latin American markets of a multi-national pharmaceutical company. They quickly realized that they shared a desire to give back to a country that has given them so much.

Sonia’s first-hand experience as an entrepreneur instilled in her a deep appreciation of the challenges entrepreneurs face and she developed a passion to reduce those barriers for others. Aliya was struck by the inequities within the country, especially within the healthcare system, and believes that innovation and courage to challenge the status quo is the path for progress, a trait many entrepreneurs hold.

Jointly inspired by the resilience, talent and innovative spirit of Argentina, balanced by the realities of emerging markets, they believe entrepreneurs play a critical role in driving economic growth and believe that potential can be unleashed with a Chispazo Inicial.

Aliya Omer

Aliya OmerAliya Omer is the Oncology General Manager of South Latin America, including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. A native of the United States, Aliya began her career in Research and Development at Johnson and Johnson, where she held positions of increasing responsibility within the Consumer & Personal Products division. She joined Novartis Oncology in 2008 in Global New Products & Portfolio Strategy and has held various roles in commercial functions and companion diagnostics.

Aliya earned dual degrees in Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and holds an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and Singapore. She currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Sonia ThompsonSonia Thompson

Sonia spent more than 10 years at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and other healthcare companies growing their brands
around the world. Now she’s the CEO of Thompson Media group, where she helps businesses win more customers by delivering remarkable experiences.

Sonia is a columnist at Inc., Forbes, and contributes articles to Entrepreneur, and Success. She is also the host of the podcast The Customer Magnet Show and is a published author. Sonia received her MBA from Florida A&M University and currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


What if I already have a business idea? Am I eligible to enter?

Absolutely. Chispazo Inicial funds are open to either pre-existing businesses and new business ideas. All entries must answer the required questions and submit a video. Finalists must submit a pitch deck (template will be provided), and answer questions from the judges.

What criteria do you use to judge the winners?

The executive-level advisors will choose the winners based on the following criteria, broken out by percentages below:

  • Originality and creativity: Is your concept truly innovative and the first of its kind? Does it solve a problem or satisfy a real need in the world? (25 percent)
  • Growth and revenue potential: Can your idea scale to generate revenue and reach customers? (25 percent)
  • Support for the underserved: Does your idea have the capacity to solve for or support the needs and interests of underserved communities as consumers, employees, and/or managers? (20 percent)
  • Entrepreneurial potential: Have you worked to bring your idea to life? Are you your brand’s biggest cheerleader? Can you sell us and others to believe in your idea? (15 percent)
  • Financial need: Is a lack of funding the biggest thing holding your business back? Do you lack the staff you need to grow? (15 percent)

Are there any age restrictions for the Chispazo Inicial Pitch?

Applicants must be 18 years or older by the end of the submission period.

Will it cost me anything to enter?

No. It only costs your time. If you are selected to pitch your ideas in front of the panel of judges, you must pay your own travel costs.

How many people can submit an idea?

You can submit an idea as an individual, or as a team. There’s no limit to how many team members you can have. On your application, designate a team captain. This is the person who will be notified about whether or not your submission will advance to the pitch on November 17.

Can I enter more than once?

You can only apply to Chispazo Inicial pitch once, so make sure you put your strongest idea forward.

What if I missed the closing date? Can I submit late?

Unfortunately, we can’t accept any late entries. Submissions will close on Friday, November 2 at 17:00 local time.

Is the competition open to non-Argentine businesses?

The competition is only open to founders who live in Argentina.

Is there anything I should know about accepting prize money?

The prize must be used towards bona fide business expenses. If a prize is awarded for a business idea or plan submitted by a team that has not registered their business, the prize will be awarded solely to the designated team captain, who will be responsible for the payment of all income or other taxes and fees associated with the prize. Recipients must also have a bank account in the team captain or business name, that can accept foreign transfers. Any fees associated with the transfer are the responsibility of the recipient.

Prize money will be awarded on December 31, 2018.

Have more questions?

Contact us at chispazoinicial@gmail.com