Brasília – Since 2004, the National Science and Technology Week has been celebrated annually, an initiative that aims to draw attention to the importance of S&T activities in everyone’s lives and for the development of the country, valuing creativity, scientific attitude and innovation. This year the festivities will take place from 17 to 23 October.
The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil) contributes to the expansion of the sector through its actions to strengthen the international presence of Brazilian companies that have technology as their distinguishing feature. only the program StartOut Brazilthat allows Brazilian startups to become part of the most promising innovation ecosystems in the world, has generated more than $16 million in businesses since its inception in 2017.
The ThinkBox startup is an example of how technology can bring facilities, reduce costs and generate revenue for the most diverse businesses. The company was founded in 2012 and since then has already implemented and tested various solutions in the most different areas. At the end of 2019, the partners realized that there was an opportunity in the distance learning (EAD) sector, due to the complexity of recording video lessons, which would explode the market due to the pandemic.
They developed software that is able to convert a PowerPoint-style presentation into a video, with an avatar as the presenter, without hours of recording and the very high production costs. Currently, the solution is available on its own website, Nextboard Studio, and through a monthly subscription, customers can create their narration videos in Portuguese, English, Spanish and French in a simple, cost-effective and fast way. All done in the cloud, without complications.
According to the founder of the company, Igor Lucena, from the beginning they wanted to bring the solution to other countries, because they saw the potential of the project, but they did not know how to start with international sales. With the support of ApexBrasil’s Export Qualification Program (PEIEX), the company started international sales this month.
“Without PEIEX, we would not have reached this point this year. We started the program in April and now, in October, we have already completed all the steps for international sales. The adjustments were much easier than we expected. It is very important that we are already at that level, because now in November we will participate in the Web Summit Lisbon, one of the most important innovation events in the world,” he says.
Although it was selected for the Web Summit on its own initiative, ThinkBox will participate in the agendas organized by the ApexBrasil mission for the event, including business rounds and investor meetings, in the company of several other startups participating in the meeting. with the support of the Agency.
Lucena also emphasized that a company had offered its services to help ThinkBox in its international expansion, but the costs were high and they decided to find another solution, which came through ApexBrasil. According to ApexBrasil’s Competitiveness manager Clarissa Furtado, the system developed for the program is designed for any business, regardless of size or revenue, and for this reason, entry is free.
“PEIEX has developed a methodology in nearly two decades of implementation that serves the most diverse companies, regardless of size, in a highly adapted way. It is the gateway, the first step for those who want to export. So our solution fits any profile, be it a technology-based start-up that has no revenue, or an industry that uses advanced technology in its products and services, already with great profitability,” he adds.
S&T in development
Cases like these show how Brazil has progressed in its technological development. Currently, one of the key indicators of this progress is the Global Innovation Index (GII), published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, or WIPO). In 2022, the country ranked 54th, becoming the second best placed in Latin America and the Caribbean, behind Chile. Also according to the publication, Brazil is the 4th nation in the group of upper middle-income countries whose innovation performance was above expectations according to its level of development.
An important aspect for the development of new technologies is the attraction of foreign direct investment, often aimed at financing start-ups and the development of, for example, new products and services by industry.
In the first half of 2022 alone, ApexBrasil’s Investment Management supported initiatives that announced US$1.058 billion in investments in the country. The program Scaling up in Brazilallowing startups from Israel, Japan and Singapore to scale their businesses in the domestic market also directly contribute to the diversification of the Brazilian ecosystem, which is enriched with its technologies, processes and innovations.
To date, the program has raised $9.9 million for the local operations of supported businesses. Another initiative that will attract foreign direct investment to the country is the Business venture in Brazilto be held in São Paulo on October 25 and 26, to increase the contribution of major companies to funds, startups or innovative Brazilian companies.
Secretary Naty is another national startup that is about to export its services, which offer cutting edge technology. The company originated from another company, specialized in collections and which at some point had to develop automation to make all contacts with the debtor customer go smoothly. But the result went further and generated a new solution and company.
Secretary Naty currently enables its users to manage communication between 50 and 100 WhatsApp users at the same time. It has several options such as sending notifications, advertising and marketing actions and a tool to chat with customers. In other words, it offers a complete service and multiple functionalities in one solution.
The company also participated in PEIEX to begin its export journey. According to the company’s partner and CEO, Willian Torrente, the program helped them understand how to position themselves to start exporting. “We started the journey in February of this year and we needed to understand which countries are most committed to our product. We have arrived in Argentina and Colombia, and that is where we will focus our efforts. In 30 or 40 days we will be active in these markets.” Torrente said that before entering the ApexBrasil qualifiers, they had already made some sporadic international sales, but now they were properly structured, with the site being fully translated into English, Spanish and Turkish (the company has a partner who resells its products in Turkey) and the billing system has been updated for international transactions. “It is very interesting for us to think about selling in Latin America, because in these transactions we receive in dollars and the exchange rate favors us a lot,” he concluded.
In addition to stimulating academic research and technological ecosystems, advances in science and technology also positively influence people’s routine through products and services that every day tend to facilitate and optimize all types of activities, both at the work as well as in the fields of health, entertainment, motor skills, among others. For this reason, innovation is considered one of the fundamental factors to move and stimulate the economy of any country and, in the same way, the export and international success of companies.
Design is an essential item in this process. ApexBrasil provides design solutions for products, services and processes of national companies through the Design Export program. Between 2012 and 2020, the program supported 369 companies from 30 different sectors. The program is now in its fourth edition.
An example of a company that brings together technology, design and innovation to transcend borders and take Brazilian expertise and creativity much further is Duo Engenharia Criativa. The company develops high-tech products for the automotive, medical equipment, machinery and household applications sectors. These are new products and services that can be patented, for which it has professionals with expertise in engineering, design, electronics and software, among others, who are part of its research and development team.
In 2022, the company completed its internationalization plan and opened a facility in the United States, from where it sells its services to North American companies. “Brazil is still unknown to the rest of the world in terms of technology and engineering. We didn’t have a strong culture of product development because there was no need to develop for a long time. Today the scenario is different, everyone has to invest in innovation,” says the CBO CEO and business partner Tiago de Menezes.
For the operation in the US, DUO had the support of ApexBrasil. He participated in internationalization programs and training and received support from the Agency’s international office in Miami. The company has already partnered with another US company and hopes to gain market share through the partner’s marketing strategies, with annual sales of $250,000.
The volume of development of new products and services in a particular country is another index that shows the degree of innovation. This measurement can be made by the number of applications for patent registration, which is the way inventors and companies must protect their inventions, thus guaranteeing the exclusivity of production or commercialization rights. And Brazil also showed growth in this area. According to data from WIPO, patent registration applications from Brazilians in the national territory increased by 12.46% between 2011 and 2020, the year in which 5,280 applications were filed.
In its PEIEX centers, ApexBrasil supports companies in registering their patents, through a partnership with the National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI), which is responsible for the implementation of this service in the country and which has the advisory committee of constitutes the programme.
With information from ApexBrasil