408. We would like to begin by thanking the proponents for raising the topic "Intellectual Property, Innovation and Microfinance" at the Council, thereby enabling us to address the challenges facing SMEs in accessing financing in their early stages of development. It also allows us to share with Members a perspective of how innovation in microfinance can improve access to financing for SMEs. Our country has placed SMEs at the heart of its economic policy. Likewise, trade policy has been geared towards increasing their participation in international trade as a way of guaranteeing that the benefits of trade have a positive impact on economic growth and the reduction of inequality. This is particularly relevant in the case of Chile since SMEs account for over half of the jobs created in the country.
409. The incorporation of new actors requires access to sources of financing. In this regard, creative industries and entrepreneurs that protect their intellectual property assets may use their intangible assets as a means of accessing financing. In our experience, we have found that using intellectual property assets as collateral is not common practice. There are significant difficulties in the valuation and acceptance of these assets as such by traditional banks. Nevertheless, the intellectual property assets of SMEs do tend to be key factors in scaling up these projects. Moreover, there has been sustained growth in the fintech ecosystem since 2016, with the most recent figures available, prepared by Finnovista in conjunction with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Pacific Alliance, showing growth of 38% from June 2019 to December 2021. Of the 179 start-ups created in 2021, innovators in digital payments and remittances make up the largest segment of fintech companies in Chile, followed by companies engaged in enterprise financial management. Innovations by national fintech companies can increase the relevance of intellectual property assets. The incorporation of the intellectual property rights aspect in enterprise financial management therefore contributes to the creation of a culture that promotes the protection of these assets. Innovation in this area has the potential to increase the opportunities for SMEs to access credit and to open up other sources of financing such as crowdfunding and angel capital.
410. The Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO), a domestic public service, has offered lines of financing targeted specifically at innovative SMEs as a way of contributing to the creation of conditions that promote the emergence of new innovative actors. There are thus special lines of financing such as "InnovaChile", which is geared towards research, development and innovation projects; "Escala Innovación", which is aimed at supporting the development, from a functional prototype to validation on an industrial and/or commercial scale, of new or improved technology based products, processes and services; "Consolida y Expande Innovación", which focuses on supporting national and international scaling up; and "Innova Alta Tecnología", which is geared towards supporting research, development and innovation projects with a high technological and commercial risk in scaling up to the global level. Lastly, we would like to reiterate our thanks to the proponents for enabling us to hear about other Members' experiences in this area.