Fostering Collaboration: Dubai Chamber’s Brazil Office Aims To Open Up Markets For UAE Startups

Fostering Collaboration: Dubai Chamber’s Brazil Office Aims To Open Up Markets For UAE Startups
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Fostering Collaboration: Dubai Chamber’s Brazil Office Aims To Open Up Markets For UAE Startups

Startups in the UAE now have access to a significant new overseas market for find new partners and invest or secure investment following the opening of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce’s new representative office in Brazil earlier this year.

The Dubai Chamber opened a representative office in São Paulo, Brazil, in April last year. The move was designed to serve the Latin American market, with an aim to boost trade and investment flows between the region and Dubai. The Dubai Startup Hub, the entrepreneurship arm of the Dubai Chamber, is also set to benefit from the initiative.

“One of the best things about the Dubai Startup Hub is the possibility to connect both ecosystems,” Joao Paulo Paixao, Head of Dubai Chamber International Office in Brazil, said in an interview on Tuesday.

“I believe that the startup ecosystems both in Brazil and here in Dubai are pretty well developed and growing. So startups from Dubai can find either Brazilian investors or partners, or even take their business into Brazil, because we’re talking about a country that has over 210 million people with an increasing purchasing power and (who are) very eager for innovation and innovative products.”

Paixao added that despite the large geographic divide between the two nations, Brazil “really loves anything related to the Arab culture”.

Following the opening of its office in Sao Paulo in April last year, the first one in Latin America, the chamber has since also set up presence in Panama and will soon launch a new office in Argentina as well, Paixao said.

“Our offices are trying to spread the news of what’s going on in those markets especially specific economic, investment and trade opportunities that are not in the headlines,” he added.

“There are several public biddings going on in Brazil that sometimes they are not well known here in Dubai. And several trade shows that happen in Columbia, Panama, Argentina, that good manufacturing companies from Dubai with excellent products could go there and exhibit and eventually find new partners or distributors or retailers over there.”

According to figures quoted by São Paulo state Vice-Governor His Excellency Marcio França during his visit to Dubai last year, São Paulo contributes around 32 percent to Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 25 percent of all exports from the country.

São Paulo also accounts for 44 percent of Brazil’s total production of household appliances, while it also manufacturers 49 percent all vehicles and 71 percent of all pharmaceutical products in the country. Brazil is the world’s top producer of sugar, sugarcane, and orange juice, and is home to the third-largest aircraft manufacturer in the world.

Paixao said that much like Dubai, Brazil’s startup ecosystem is buzzing too. “Brazil has done an amazing job in fostering innovation for startups,” he said.

São Paulo has invested 15 percent of its GDP in education, research and development.

“There are several centers for startup ecosystems, not just in Sao Paulo, which is the big business city, but also in other states throughout the country. Brazil has done very interesting work in fintech, receiving investment from the US and Europe. Of course since Brazil is a big agricultural producer, there’s also several agri-tech (startups) developing amazing services and technology.”

Brazil is Dubai’s top trading partner in Latin America. Non-oil trade between Brazil and Dubai amounted to AED6 billion in 2016, accounting for more than a third of the emirate’s total non-oil trade with the region. Dubai’s non-oil trade with Latin America reached AED17.4 billion in 2016, a 29 percent growth rate compared to AED13.5 billion in 2010.

“We expect that now that we have an office over there, we can further support our members in finding opportunities and the trade figures will increase in the coming years,” Paixao added.

By Megha Merani