4 tips for accessing opportunities in Brazil’s cleantech market

Brazil is one of the largest markets in the world in terms of geographical size and population, with an estimated 210 million inhabitants. Brazil offers a number of opportunities for Canadian companies, and with the recent introduction of new sustainability goals for power as well as water and sanitation services this is especially true for the cleantech industry.

Part of the government’s increased support for sustainable solutions is a focus on increasing the investment and participation of international companies to encourage more competition and better outcomes. Brazil has been facing new challenges because of the COVID‑19 pandemic and sees sustainable projects as a key part of its recovery.

General considerations for Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) interested in the market include a complex taxation system and the need for patience and persistence to achieve success. Here are our 4 tips to help Canadian SMEs access opportunities in Brazil’s cleantech market.

1. COVID‑19 has increased considerably the digitalization of cleantech subsectors

The COVID‑19 pandemic has brought unexpected challenges to markets around the world. During the pandemic, Brazil has made substantial efforts to modernize its sustainable projects through technologies. The introduction of new international players to the market has led to greater demands for innovative solutions and the digitalization of cleantech subsectors in Brazil.

In order to serve more regions of the country, Brazil is looking for de‑centralized service delivery and increased efficiencies. This is creating new opportunities for Canadian firms with solutions in:

2. Public companies expect a local market presence 

Face‑to‑face interactions are important in Brazil, especially in areas that require sizable investments. This is how Brazilians prefer to conduct business and the reason that having a local presence is preferred.

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With current travel restrictions, virtual trade missions and events are great opportunities to meet new business contacts and broaden your network. While conducting business in Brazil, you may have a hard time finding English speaking contacts due to the fact that it is not widely spoken, even at hierarchical levels. Consider hiring someone who speaks Portuguese, as they would be able to better communicate and explore the opportunities for you in the market.

If Brazil is one of your target markets and you do not have the capacity to open a physical office, finding the right local partner or representative could be a key to finding success. Many public auctions don’t accept international bidders, so having a local partner is the only way to compete in these cases.

With 6 offices in Brazil our network of trade commissioners can help connect you with on‑the‑ground market intelligence and the right business contacts.

3. Strategic linkages to local engineering and infrastructure companies is key for SMEs

Brazil has put in place new sustainability goals for water & sanitation as well as power generation & transmission, making them top priorities for sustainable projects and investment. The upcoming projects created as a result will require a lot of engineering and infrastructure support through public private partnerships (PPP). A PPP is when both public and private companies come together to work on large, and expensive projects.

One way Canadian SMEs can gain a competitive advantage is by creating strategic linkages with local engineering and infrastructure firms. These partnerships can help integrate your solutions into PPP projects and value chains. If you have plans to do business in Brazil contact us for advice on your market‑entry strategy and help qualifying potential partners and investors in the market.

4. Innovation and R&D partnerships offer market‑entry opportunities

If you have an innovative technology, there may be opportunities for you to pilot your solution and test the market opportunities. Brazilian utility firms for example, might be willing to run a pilot to test your technology. These tests can result in sizable sales, so do not underestimate their value.

Collaborative research and development (R&D) projects are another strategy for doing business in Brazil. In the power sector specifically, developing partnerships with local universities or research centers is important as those institutions are the ones leading projects for utilities. The TCS offers funding programs to help Canadian SMEs pursue international R&D partnerships to adapt, validate or co-develop their technologies:

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