Author: Fernando Gameleira
Last summer, I met Naldo Peliks in my home city, Rio de Janeiro. He introduced himself as Centro Community Partners (Centro), Chief of Operations and spoke with great candor and genuine enthusiasm about the mobile app they had developed to help aspiring and current small business owners write business plans. As someone who has worked almost exclusively in the field of entrepreneurship development for decades, he definitely had my ears.
Brazil is the largest country in South America and some say we are entrepreneurial by nature. A significant number of the country's 200 million habitants are constantly developing entrepreneurial activities, both formally and informally. We also speak Portuguese, which makes the country particularly unique in the region.
Centro wanted help testing their Basic Entrepreneurship Program in Brazil, and taking the first steps to officially partner with organizations working with small business entrepreneurs. I of course said yes, and in a matter of a week of meetings with other local consultants and small business specialists, Centro began working with:
- Sebrae – the largest Brazilian non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs through more than 700 branches across the country, and
- CDL Niterói – the chamber that represents retail entrepreneurs in Niterói, the city across the Guanabara Bay of the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The pilot group started with 12 people, most of whom were local women working with handcrafted goods and services. As an entrepreneur myself and behavioral trainer – I was in charge of this first pilot workshop, and was left in awe with the immediate impact the entrepreneurs conveyed:
Another woman in the pilot program who had lived in New York for more than two decades before returning to Brazil and opening her own vegan food business, said:
Some entrepreneurs shared how attending the workshop helped them change their minds or course-correct the direction of their business. This happened to Lucia, a journalist who decided to become a creative chocolatier:
Leila, an English Teacher and a Tour Guide decided to focus her new tourism business, “Conhecendo Mais,” on the cultural traits of low income communities in Rio de Janeiro. Here is a little bit of her business outlook after the workshop:
Lastly, one of the most enthusiastic participants was Sandra, the owner of Amazonia Rio Consulting. She said that sharing experiences with the other participants and the instructor made a real difference for her - the ability to help others was an inspiration to consolidate the support network that resulted from the workshop.
I am personally thrilled to have found Centro as well, and can't wait to consolidate our nationwide partnership to use the Basic Entrepreneurship Education Suite across Brazil.