So, you already know a little Portuguese, read everything you could about Brazil and maybe you have even been there. Now you want to take your hobby to another level: buy a house in Recife, get a job in São Paulo, open a business in Porto Alegre or just spend New Year’s Eve in Copacabana. Whatever your next step is, there are a lot of things to consider before you jump on a plane and go.
I’ll post about this subject inside the category “Let’s travel” – “Brazil”. The articles will be probably from other people (business is not my cup of tea) and will bring information and ideas to help a foreigner who wants to invest in Brazil – why it’s a great idea, what you should know, what are the risks and so on.
Let’s start with this article from Ricardo Geromel, Forbes contributor.
4 Must Knows Before Investing in Brazil
Although only 40% of Brazil’s population is regularly connected to the Internet, Brazilians are already spending $13 Billion a year online. Unemployment is at historic lows at the same time that wages are increasing and credit is widely available. Therefore, domestic demand is rising even as economic growth has been slowing down; GDP grew 7,5% in 2010, only 2,7% in 2011 and is expected to grow less than 3% this year. More than half of Brazil’s 200 million population is considered to be part of the middle class, and this emerging class is spending more and more online.
Brazil’s internet business is taking off. Although only 40% of Brazil’s population is regularly connected to the Internet, Brazilians are already spending $13 Billion a year. Brazil has the second highest number of Facebook users after the United States. image by The Economist
In 2011, the number of legal foreign workers jumped 57% to 1.51 million, according to Brazil’s Justice Ministry. The number of foreign entrepreneurs who are seduced by Brazil’s booming consumer market has also increased exponentially. Here I will share 4 must knows for foreigner entrepreneurs looking forward to launching a venture in Brazil:
1 – How to avoid Brazil’s bureaucratic jungle?
According to Paying Taxes study, which includes information from 183 countries and was released earlier this month by the World Bank and PwC, in no other country in the world companies lose so much time as they do in Brazil just to be ”ok” with taxation. In Brazil, a company needs 2600 hours – or 108 calendar days – to be able to calculate and pay off taxes and contributions. The comparison with any other nation is staggering. In China, businesses are required 398 hours – six times less that Brazil – in Russia, 290 hours.
There are some local laws in Brazil’s bureaucratic jungle that are not easily understood by foreigners. TechCrunch quoted Fabrice Grinda, French angel investor:
In Brazil, it’s a different story. Logistics and payments work there, but it’s a dangerously litigious country, so startups often find themselves getting sued to oblivion. Grinda shared a story with the audience about a local e-commerce company that had its domain name taken away by some Brazilian judge, effectively killing its business overnight.”
The Brazilian magazine Exame has an entire online section dedicated to tips on legislation for small companies. Unfortunately, it is only available in Portuguese. But Google Translate should be good enough and if you are serious about launching a venture in Brazil, my first advice would be to learn Portuguese anyway.
Besides getting legal advice even before you start, the best way to avoid Brazil’s bureaucratic jungle is to connect with local entrepreneurs and small business owners. They are used to local laws, willing to give advices, and you will be building your network.
2 -How to connect with local small entrepreneurs and small businesses?
Your first stop must be Sebrae! Sebrae is the mecca for reliable information about entrepreneurship in Brazil; from working visas for foreigners to schedules of entrepreneurs gatherings, Sebrae has all the official answers foreigner investors need. It may be slower than a Google search (or a Siri question) but it is definitely more accurate.
Sebrae is The Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises and serve as a hub for people interested in entrepreneurship in Brazil. It was founded in 1972 and counts on a network of 4,433 employees and 9,223 external consultants.
Altough the most common hidden cost in Brazil is corruption and SEBRAE only teaches how to play by the book, it definitely pays off to get acquainted with SEBRAE before launching a business venture in Brazil.
Sebrae is getting more and more popular with foreigners. In fact, as I am preparing this post, I try to access the English version of the website and I get the following message:
“It was not possible to access the page requested. It is being visited by too many people at this moment…Try again now or later.”
Your second stop should be Empreendemia, a social network focused on accelerating interaction between entrepreneurs and small companies in Brazil. Empreendemia offers the sense of a local and active community, it has over 32,000 Twitter followers and 9000 Facebook fans, and is growing 35% per month.
3 – Main Brazilian Entrepreneurship Blogs
The main Brazilian entrepreneurship blogs are all in Portuguese. In case you don’t speak Portugues yet , use Google Translate and reach out bloggers and readers in English. The absolute majority will be able to reply in English. Following are the must reads, the elite of entrepreneurship blogs in Brazil:
Saiadolugar, Blog dos Empreendedores, Blog do Bernardo Porto, Insistimento, Empresa Brasil, Blog do Leo Kuba, Beco com Saída, and papodeempreendedor.
Brazil’s online population is about 80 million people and it has the second highest number of Facebook users after the United States. Consequently, Brazil’s blogosphere is very animated. However, these are the entrepreneurship blogs where things are happening, where you will not only read great content but also be able to connect to local entrepreneurs who are making things happen in “the country of the future.”
4 – Main books by Brazilian entrepreneurs
Abilio Diniz’s Smart Choices for a Successful Life
With more than 200.000 copies sold, it was a number 1 best seller in Brazil. I met Abilio last week in a Conscious Capitalism Conference in Boston. He is definitively one of the most fascinating man I have ever met. Abilio is a legend: Brazil’s 10th richest person is an athlete and a self-made business man who not only saved Grupo Pão de Açúcar from ruin but also turned it into the largest retailer in Latin America with 170 thousand employees. This book is an enriching account that combines personal confessions, like when he was kidnapped, and experiences to subjects like sports, love, faith and self-knowledge.
Eike Batista’s X Factor — The Path of Brazil’s Biggest Entrepreneur.
Eike is Brazil’s richest man and the world’s seventh richest man. He teaches 10 simple rules for becoming a billionaire. Why should you read it? I let Batista answer himself: ““People know what I’ve done. I’m the world’s most versatile business man. I’ve built 20 different multi-billion businesses in different areas, beginning from scratch. That’s a huge incentive for people to buy my book.” Here is a review of the book by a fellow Forbes writer.
This post provides the necessary toolkit to succeed as a foreigner entrepreneur in Brazil by: avoiding Brazil’s bureaucratic jungle, connecting with local entrepreneurs, knowing the best local entrepreneurship blogs, and learning directly from Brazilians who actually made it to the top.
The links in this article are not linkable. To see the original text go to http://www.forbes.com/sites/ricardogeromel/2012/05/31/4-must-knows-before-investing-in-brazil/