Three local projects won Eureka awards in their corresponding categories as part of an initiative organized by SURA Chile and La Tercera newspaper
The winners consisted of entrepreneurial ventures, SME´s and corporate innovation projects from Valparaiso, BioBio and Los Rios for their contribution to regional development. Santiago, Wednesday January 7, 2015. - The Eureka awards were presented as part of a ceremony attended by Chile´s Minister for the Economy, Luis Felipe Céspedes, honoring entrepreneurs, SMEs and corporate innovations that helped to drive local development in Chile, especially those on a regional level. The local winners were AgroFree, from Valparaíso in the Eureka Start-Up category; Pesca en línea, from Los Ríos, in the Eureka SME category and AbasoloVallejo, from Bíobío, for the Best Corporate Innovation Project. This, the first Eureka award ceremony organized by SURA Chile and la Tercera newspaper, attracted large scale interest with a total of 1.300 innovation and entrepreneurial projects submitted from all across Chile, with a total of 15 regions being represented in each of the award categories. A local panel of judges were in charge of the initial selection process which was carried out in December 2014, producing 45 regional finalists with 15 representatives in each category. These pre-selected candidates then took part in a final presentation held at SURA´s Headquarters in Santiago, at which a nationwide panel of judges chose the winners, taking into account criteria such as the quality of the project itself, its local impact and the degree to which it inspires other entrepreneurs. As for corporate initiatives, these were ranked in terms of business innovation and project quality. Upon presenting the prizes, Luis Felipe Cespedes, Chile´s Minister for the Economy, mentioned how important these awards were, since " they largely reflect the focus that the Chilean Government and most particularly the Ministry for the Economy have placed on designing and implementing policies with a view to driving entrepreneurial ventures and innovation", he also stressed the enormous amount of interest that these awards attracted, thanks to Chile´s “powerful entrepreneurial culture aimed at furthering development and contributing more to the country." Francisco Murillo, CEO of SURA Chile, went on to state how proud he was to be a part of such a wide-reaching initiative with such a pronounced regional focus, encouraging important initiatives that have become a cornerstone of development for their surrounding communities, "since we have witnessed how innovation creates virtuous cycles of development and brings about a greater degree of competitive dynamics for the entire country." José Antonio Ferris, Corporate Business Manager for Copesa, made special mention of the "social nature of the Eureka initiative, as well as the passion and energy on the part of entrepreneurs competing for these awards". He also went on to state that the "Eureka awards are here to stay and we hope that they shall encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs to make the required leap in bringing their projects to fruition." The winning projects in each category were as follows: 1. Eureka Start-Up Award : AgroFree, from Valparaíso, with an intelligent crop cultivation system from the standpoint of design, technology and nature itself. The project´s creator, Pablo Genovese, explained that it "allows for herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables to be grown at home with the help of a screen which shows how much water and nutrients are required so as to be able to control the plants in a more natural, organic and sustainable fashion. 2. Eureka SME Award : Pesca en línea, from Los Ríos , which markets the catches of local fishermen to the final consumer. The President of the Chilean Fishing Federation, FEPASUR, Marco IdeMallorga, explained that the purpose of this project is to address the scant amount of resources that local fisherman have while driving sustainability by fishing less and selling at much better prices; this in addition to including a range of other different seafood products that are not as yet being marketed." 3. Eureka Corporate Innovation Award: AbasoloVallejo S.A., from Bíobío, with a system which allows for nuts to be removed from mills used in large-scale mining at a much quicker rate that using the more traditional methods. "This increases milling availability and produces a series of other benefits for mining companies," explained the company´s representative, Jose Antonio Vallejo. About SURA Chile SURA Chile forms part of the Multi-Latin Organization, SURA Asset Management, present in six countries in Latin America. It has a major presence on the Chilean pension fund market, through its subsidiary AFP Capital, with Assets under Management totaling USD 36.8 billion belonging to its 1.9 million clients, and is an expert player in the Chilean mutual fund, life insurance and stock brokerage industries. About SURA Asset Management SURA Asset Management is a Latin American Company operating in the Pension, Savings and Investment sectors in Mexico, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and El Salvador. Besides being a subsidiary of Grupo SURA, the Company has six minority shareholders, namely, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), member of the World Bank Group, Grupo Bolívar, Bancolombia, the International Equity Firm, General Atlantic, JP Morgan and the Grupo Wiese. At September 2014, SURA Asset Management held a total of USD 119.7 billion in assets under management belonging to 17 million clients. About GRUPO SURA Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana –GRUPO SURA- is a Latin American company listed on the Colombian Stock Exchange and registered with the ADR- Level 1 program in the United States. It is also the only Latin American company from the Diversified Financial Service Sector to be admitted to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), which tracks companies who have become global benchmarks thanks to the best practices they have adopted from the economic, environmental and social standpoints. GRUPO SURA has two fields of investment: its core strategic interests in the financial service, insurance, pension, savings and investment sectors; and its portfolio interests in the processed food, cement and energy sectors.