Derek Newberry

Small Businesses Putting Ideas into Action

NV brazil forumOn Thursday, December 14th, key players in Brazil’s financial and private sectors met at the 3rd Annual New Ventures Investor Forum to discuss the state of business and environment in the country. Representatives from such corporate and financial leaders as Wal-Mart Brazil, Stratus Investimentos, and ABN AMRO discussed topics from the ecological impact of international supply chains to regulations of small enterprise, but the main issue on everyone’s mind was ?Will society [and the private-sector] respond in time to the sustainability challenge??

Posed by Andre Mariano of AxialPar investments, this may be the most important question of 2006, and it was answered by four of Brazil’s most promising small enterprises. These winners of the Investor Forum were:

  • Eletrocell – a company developing hydrogen energy systems for multiple applications that it hopes will lead a second energy revolution after biofuels in Brazil.
  • Florestas Cosmetics – Florestas sources its beauty products from Brazil’s abundant biodiversity. Each product is certified organic and sustainably harvested for sale to major clients including Whole Foods and Carrefour.
  • Hering Instruments–a company that uses FSC certified wood to produce sustainably crafted musical instruments. These high quality pieces include guitars, drums, harmonicas and many others.
  • Ouro Verde – Ouro has the mission of tapping the vast and profitable resources of the Amazons in a way that preserves the vitality and biodiversity of the region. Ouro Verde is attempting to shift local agricultural practices away from an extractive mode by sustainably harvesting plants for quality food products such as cooking oils and jellies.

These small enterprises go beyond the mere dialogue of workshops and conferences to engender a truly new way of doing business. They and the other six finalists presented at the forum give new meaning to reports and rhetoric on the need for sustainability, and the level of competitiveness these companies have reached bodes well for the growth of green sectors in Brazil.

As one of the forum judges, Stratus Investimentos? Phillipe Lisbona commented, ?The level of professionalism and innovation of the ten New Ventures companies demonstrates the potential of sustainable business in Brazil and worldwide.?