In a few days, the eight winning teams of this unprecedented meeting will be announced: for the first time in our country, an institution of the Armed Forces has called for open innovation. Those selected will receive USD 7,500. At the end of March, the two winning teams will be selected: the winner will receive up to USD 50,000 thousand and the runner-up USD 40,000.


Chile is one of the countries with the largest maritime surface, at 26.4 million km2 (1.5 times the size of South America!). So how can we protect each area of ​​the ocean which forms part of our territory? Check if boats are fishing illegally, protect the life of marine species and resources, safeguard the integrity of the people who navigate in its waters and have efficient communication with the vessels crossing our seas in order, among other things, to ensure that they do so within the framework established by Chilean law.

To resolve these concerns, and for the first time, the Chilean Navy opened a convocation to the community of entrepreneurs, small businesses, university researchers, postgraduate and undergraduate students. The convocation, called “The Avante Challenge 2020”, presents the problems detected by the institution in order to seek innovative solutions for both the military and the civil world (dual technologies), highlighting the importance of collaborative work when solving this type of problem.

Regarding the initiative, the Minister of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation, Andrés Couve stressed that “this challenge is an example of how starting from the articulation of the State, the academic and the private world, we are able to link knowledge with the needs of the country. From the Ministry of Science, we are working to strengthen this articulation so that I congratulate this initiative which promotes open innovation and collaboration”.

Start-ups at the head

A total of 39 initiatives applied the first version of the Avante Challenge of which 24 correspond to start-ups as well as several regional applications from cities such as Concepcion, Concon, Arica or Valdivia.

The majority of these initiatives aim to solve one or more of the challenges presented which this time focus on four axes: Illegal landings on the north coast of the country; illegal fishing in Chilean jurisdictional waters in order to obtain evidence to be presented before competent judicial bodies; anomalous behaviour in ships and vessels crossing maritime areas of national responsibility and finally, non-collaborative ships.

“At the Ministry of Defense we are very happy about the initiative that the Navy has taken in the Avante Challenge 2020 which is extraordinarily important in bringing the scientific community closer to the Armed Forces, in this case, the Chilean Navy and that should serve as an example and guide for many more initiatives. Hopefully, this will be one of many other similar initiatives from now on, “said Mario Desbordes, Minister of Defence.

“Through the Avante Challenge, we not only hope to obtain technological capabilities to comply with our mission areas, but also to contribute to za<<<<<<<<national technological development,” added Captain Fernando Le Dantec Hudson, the Navy’s Director of Programmes, Research and Development (Diprida) who together with the Naval Polytechnic Academy (Apolinav) are leading the convocation.

Training for entrepreneurs, the next step

The Avante Challenge 2020 is also being carried out in collaboration with the US Naval Research Office, together with AthenaLab and Know Hub Chile. The latter is a corporation that, together with the Navy, was responsible for scouting and disseminating the Avante Challenge. Now both institutions are selecting the eight teams who will be given the 10-week training in the Know Hub Chile Dual Tech programme (between January and March 2021), which promotes the development and implementation of dual technological solutions and contributes to the formation and maturity process of scientific-technological-based ventures (EBCT).

“We are very satisfied to have successfully completed this first phase of the Avante Challenge which I am saying not only due to the number of applications to the convocation, but because this initiative is a tremendous milestone enabling the Navy to enter into the innovation ecosystem and that is worth a lot ”, declared Javier Ramírez, executive director of Know Hub Chile, adding that this is only the beginning of a process of mutual knowledge between the academy, entrepreneurs and the Armed Forces.

Each of the eight selected teams will have access to USD 7,500 for the development of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), whose purpose is to verify the potential of the technology. In parallel, the EBCTs will receive support for their business model as well as their corporate and tax structure (company set-up). At the end of March, the eight teams will appear before an evaluation panel to select the two winners: the first place will have access to up to USD 50,000 and the runner-up, to USD 40,000, resources which will support the implementation of a roadmap for progress in the commercialisation of technology.

Know Hub Chile