Big-business Brazil taps into its young entrepreneurs
Brazil, a country familiar with big business is now nurturing a growing network of small business incubators, tapping universities for young entrepreneurs with a start-up spirit.
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Their firm, PV Inova, is at the Genesis Institute at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro, which gives subsidized access to legal advice and logo designers. "If they are stuck ... they are next to other entrepreneurs, or professors and laboratories in the university, to help them," says Julia Zardo, a professor at the Genesis Institute.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Averbug says Brazil's culture of entrepreneurism is changing. "Friends who are graduating from universities today don't just think of getting a job at a big company, they think about opening their own business," he says. "A few years ago, Brazil was seen as a commodity country. I think Brazil now is being looked at as a good country [in which] to do business."
Brazil's entrepreneurial spirit
International development agencies see business incubators as a spur to technology and entrepreneurship. "This can be a tool for development for jobs creation, and as a way to maintain the engine of economic growth," says Valerie D'Costa, program manager of Infodev, a partnership of international aid organizations housed at the World Bank.
Infodev runs incubator programs in 86 countries that have generated more than 220,000 jobs since 2002. The entrepreneurs they support, she says, "are harnessing technology with a view to making a scalable business out of it."
Brazil has been a success, something Mr. Costa sees rooted in an entrepreneurial spirit grown from racial and cultural diversity and the economic chaos of the 1980s. "When people had to survive with inflation, they had to adapt," he says.
Still, starting a business here takes 120 days, double the average for Latin American and Caribbean countries and far worse than the average 13 days for OECD countries, according to the International Finance Corp. Entrepreneurs also face a complex tax system and poor funding.
But this year FINEP began a program called PRIME, which gives about $65,000 to start-ups, selected by 18 incubators, focused on innovation. The group seeks to help 10,000 companies over four years.
The idea is not to just create new products, but new jobs. Each job generated by a new company, Costa says, can generate 10 indirect ones. The Genesis Institute alone has graduated 47 companies that have created 887 jobs. Infodev surveys show that 75 percent of companies that "graduate" from incubators are still operating three years later.
Brazil's resource-heavy economy recently eclipsed Chile's as South America's top performer. Now, Brazil's emerging focus on entrepreneurship suggests it may be shifting into a new and higher economic gear.