While the reimbursement policy is certainly (quite) troublesome and extremely annoying, I'm more concerned about the climate/environment in Chile once the program ends.
More countries need to foster entrepreneurial endeavors with a solid mix of residents and non-residents (almost like an exchange program) to get a better global mix of problem/market/solution. Startup Chile appears to be a good first step at addressing this.
However if Startup Chile didn't create a strong ecosystem (including investment and other support) then there's a risk that an increasing number of companies will fail once the program ends. Programs with high failure rates won't survive and have less chance of being funded in the future.
Hopefully Startup Chile is capable of adapting and addressing these concerns and other incubator/accelerator outside of long standing startup environments (e.g. SF, NYC) can learn from this example.
As it stands I have little (actually zero) incentive to stay here after January. I'm distanced from my partners, friends, family, and investors who actually spend their money. I'm also not interested in spending 3 months, and a lot of money, incorporating a company here when I already did it in less than 24 hours back home in Canada.
Why would you need to incorporate in Chile in order to stay? The initial visa is for a year, right? I'm curious because we're planning to stay the full year, and may stay a second year if we can get a renewal.
Every time someone asks me if I'm coming back I answer that I would love to have a reason to, and I really hope the small business ties I have made here will pan out. As it stands, being an "internet company" (as you mentioned in a different comment) means I'm not tied to any location. I have no business reason to stay here, which is unfortunate, and it's not from lack of trying. I've met a lot of awesome people, Chilean and otherwise, but they aren't reason enough to remain uprooted from my life back home.
The incentive was to make Chile the Silicon Valley of Latam. The SUP vision is to "Convert Chile into the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of Latin America by attracting the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs to bootstrap their startups in Chile."
Notice it doesn't say anything about people staying, just about people coming. Of course that if no one stays there is no ecosystem, but this is a work in progress. By attracting nerds, they got at least one part right (http://www.paulgraham.com/siliconvalley.html).
The chicken/egg problem is that we can't find follow-on investment here, so we leave. But if we leave, no VC will want to be here to make follow-on investments. What should we do?
and what is that incentive? there's no extended office space, mentor-ship, or support network, I was working with George on this, but we felt like it got slipped out beneath us when we tired :/ I agree with Herval that this could have be executed better, but more accurately that if these complaints don't exist the program will not improve (though many are extreme.. along with zac's comments :p )
Really it all boils down to there being no VC opportunities. The only angel/VC investor that was formally arranged for us to pitch to has left the country.
In fact, the Demo Day needed to be arranged by us instead of SUP staff taking the initiative. Hell, they were actually against it when asked on multiple occasions for their support. In the end all they did was blog about it as if it was their idea.
The above two paragraphs really sum up the problems. Reimbursements are tough, without clarity, etc., but the program will surely fail if they don't figure out the above.