At Fort Galt: an entrepreneur community based on hope and inspiration

Written by Skinner Layne

Dateline: Valdivia, Chile

As the first trace of daylight creeps over the Andes mountains, the southern city of Valdivia, split by a peaceful freshwater river, starts to show signs of life.

Standing on the rooftop of the Hotel Dreams, you can see snow-capped Villarrica Volcano reflecting the morning sun and you can smell the mix of timber and pine with the ocean mist.

In March, the smell of Villarrica’s volcanic ash was in the air, as well, as the volcano had a spurt of activity.

Lush green forests surrounding the city, an abundance of freshwater lakes and streams, nearly a thousand kilometers from a city of at least a million inhabitants, it is a nature lover’s dream.

With a population of approximately 150,000 citizens, it is one of the largest cities in the southern region of Chile.

The people are welcoming and embrace outsiders due to the extensive tourism history.

It is a great place to escape for a while or to live productively with a high quality of life.

My friends and past participants of the Exosphere boot camp have moved to Valdivia to pursue a passion of collaboration, learning, and long-term entrepreneur community.

They have come here to build Fort Galt.

Entrepreneur community has novel inspiration

Inspired by Ayn Rand’s classic, Atlas Shrugged, Fort Galt is their attempt to create a closely connected community of entrepreneurs, makers, and productive individuals.

Gabriel Scheare, co-founder says, “We are taking the spirit of the tiny house and we’re saying, what if everyone could save money by combining their tiny houses into one structure?”

Like any idea that is being worked into reality, Fort Galt has gone through many iterations and revised blueprints.

After the boot camp, Gabriel moved to Galt’s Gulch in Curacaví, Chile.

Yes, the same Galt’s Gulch that has gone through a PR nightmare and withdrawn investment.

Gabriel’s first vision was to create FG on a plot of land there.

He was going to sell Japanese style pods for short or long term lease.

But once the problems became apparent, he decided to pivot and look elsewhere.

Luke & Lourdes Crowley wanted to create an open-ecology/maker space somewhere in Chile.

There was talk about it being founded near Viña del Mar, but they could not find a suitable piece of land, with water rights, that would suit their needs.

They merged ideas and searched throughout Chile until they found their ideal spot outside of Valdivia.

One of the most significant problems with Galt’s Gulch was the lack of transparency and communication from the management to the customers.

Fort Galt is operating with total transparency in the spirit of open-source collaboration.

Small investment to join the entrepreneur community

There are six room offerings from which to choose.

The prices start at $10,000 for a private room. Commercial and custom space is also available upon request.

People act as their own escrow.

Normal construction jobs ask for a third of the price at signing. Fort Galt requires a tenth at signing.

That money is going to be used to buy the land and get started

Luke says, “The main heart of Fort Galt is going to be developing companies, products, and running existing businesses from Chile. Fort Galt is based on hope and inspiration, rather than the fear-based and bug out mentality”

In a country that is economically stable, surrounded by natural beauty, and far from the ridiculousness of the West, Fort Galt could be just the place you.

And if you’re worried about Villarrica Volcano, the organizers say they have not been affected.

It is an exciting project to keep an eye on.

 Editor’s note: Contributor Skinner Layne does not receive any commission or payment for recommending Fort Galt.

Skinner Layne
Last updated: Dec 28, 2019 at 4:49AM

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1 Comment

  1. Gabriel Scheare

    Hi Patrick! I’m one of the Fort Galt founders so I’ll be happy to answer any questions about this. The caption under the picture clearly states that it is a view from Pucon, not Valdivia, so I don’t think there is cause for confusion about that.

    The winters are definitely rainy here and I don’t think anyone claimed otherwise. Many of our members are from the Northern hemisphere and intend to spend half of the year down here in our summer and the other half of the year up north. This is my third winter in Valdivia and I’m starting to think that winter vacations are a great idea because yeah, it’s raining a lot right now.
    Our land is private property and is not part of the nature reserve next to it. We can cut most trees without permits with the exception of certain native species. If someone cuts a protected species, they are required to pay a small fine.
    Our land titles are clear and we have no disputes with any of the Mapuche natives. Some properties nearby are disputed but not ours.
    Our offerings are not meant to appeal to people that just want cheap land. You’re absolutely right that cheaper land can be found elsewhere but if you look at our website, you’ll quickly see that we’re offering a package that includes many other valuable aspects besides just the land. I myself wouldn’t move here just for the land. It’s the greater community, which is more than the sum of its parts, that appeals to me. We’re also planning to replicate this project in other parts of the world so that members can live at multiple different locations throughout the year without having to buy property in each country. I’m guessing that many of the people will want to move to a warmer location during Valdivia’s winter months and it sounds like you would agree.

    If you’re still in Valdivia and would like to meet some more expats, let me know and I can introduce you. We have a facebook group and we usually gather at least twice per month.

    Reply

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