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Why is it important to encourage entrepreneurship in the Amazon?

The creativity and work of local communities in the Amazon are turned into sustainable solutions for generating employment and income and preserving biodiversity.

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Today, entrepreneurship, in all its categories, is linked to sustainable development and this concept is embedded in all organizations. A concept widely used in ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) in companies is the bioeconomy, an essential approach for the development of production models that are more concerned with their socio-environmental impacts and that seek greater harmonization between economic development and the preservation of the environment. environment.

The Amazon, as it is rich in inputs that are transformed into food and beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, rubber, fashion and accessories, is fertile ground for the development of the bioeconomy. The region is the focus of investments by large companies. Among them is Hydro, a global industrial leader that concentrates most of its Brazilian operations in Pará.

With this focus on investing in innovation in the Amazon, connecting good local initiatives – which value the standing forest and a low-carbon economy – to global chains, in 2021 Hydro invested more than BRL 18 million in 25 social projects and engagement initiatives, with different focuses such as education, work and income, economic and social development and strengthening of social organizations, which together benefited more than 80 thousand people, directly and indirectly, in communities in the seven municipalities where the Company operates in Pará: Barcarena, Abaetetuba, Moju, Acará, Tomé-Açu, Ipixuna do Pará and Paragominas.

“Entrepreneurship is closely linked to the generation of innovations that bring improvements both from a social and economic point of view. In a region with the complexity of the Amazon, fostering sustainable entrepreneurial activity has never been so vital, after all, it is through it that we will be able to take advantage of existing opportunities in the local context. Our purpose is to boost development on a much larger scale”, analyzes Eduardo Figueiredo, director of Sustainability & Social Impact at Hydro.

According to the analyst at Sebrae in Pará, Georgiane Titan, it is when traditional communities and even local businessmen begin to be aware of the potential of Amazonian biodiversity, they begin to value natural resources and conserve them. And they start to have greater profitability and quality of life. “The partnership between the private sector and educational institutions is very important to boost entrepreneurship in the Amazon. On the one hand, technology transfer and the possibility of applying and validating research in loco within companies accelerate the good results of research. On the other hand, the knowledge of the research results and, also, the support of the academy to the companies, in the accomplishment of analyzes and validation of the products, helps in the development of these enterprises.

Before, innovation was a distant concept, which seemed far from communities. “Today, through public notices, training and even easier access to the internet, we are able to bring innovation to traditional communities, improving products in the various production chains, such as açaí, honey and cassava. The sustainable use of forest resources is of paramount importance, traditional communities live and depend on the forest. Learning to use its resources correctly and to value the products of the forests helps in environmental preservation”, analyzes Georgiane.

Sustainable Business

The Embarca Amazônia program, carried out by Hydro in partnership with the Centro de Empreendedorismo da Amazônia and with the support of Municipalities and other local institutions, has already benefited more than 800 people aged between 18 and 29, from the municipalities of Abaetetuba, Barcarena, Moju, Acará, Tomé-Açu, Ipixuna do Pará and Paragominas.

“Based on the methodology of design thinking, we seek to support the development of sustainable business ideas in the region, with a focus on forest resources and biodiversity. In this way, we continue to make a difference to people, the environment and business”, says Hydro's director, Eduardo Figueiredo.

The objective is to create businesses focused on purpose, with a positive socio-environmental impact. In this project, the production chains chosen were cocoa, açaí, pineapple, tourism, biodiversity, handicrafts, among others.

The program offers workshops on sustainable entrepreneurship, support for the creation of sustainable business ideas and incentives for the creation of networks of entrepreneurs in the seven municipalities where it operates, in five phases of implementation. The first edition took place between 2018 and 2019, and the second edition began in 2021 and is currently in the Ideation phase, which consists of forming teams to learn about production chains and create business models.

In August, pre-acceleration workshops began, with mentorships to support the strengthening of the business models developed. Consultancies include specialists in legal, accounting, financial, production, marketing and sales aspects. And, in December 2022, business models and prototypes will be presented to a representative audience of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The 1st edition reached more than 300 young people from Barcarena and Abaetetuba and generated 12 sustainable business models focused on the açaí, biodiversity and tourism chains.

Daniel Lemes de Oliveira, 34, participated in the project in 2018. Until then, he was working as a manager at a local university and was interested in participating to improve the idea of ​​his own business in the tourism area. “This participation for me was sensational, from the first meeting until the idea actually got off the ground. I learned a lot in the field of marketing, accounting, legal. I left there with the company ready for the market”, says Daniel. Today, he works with his tourism agency and a printing company, and the agency is a reference in the municipality of Barcarena, working in regional and sustainable tourism.

“The support of the entire chain within the program was essential for my professional growth and for leaving the concrete city and living the Amazon in all its fullness”, says Daniel.

In Press Porter Novelli

External Press Officer

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