Occasio International Advisory Services (Occasio) has developed a partnering relationship with the Federation of Canadian-Brazilian Businesses (FCBB), based in Toronto, Canada. The FCBB is doing amazing work to help reinforce the links between Canadian and Brazilian entrepreneurs and Small and Medium-sized businesses (SMEs), and this further collaboration between people in both countries.
Occasio was able to interview the President of the FCBB, Dr. Youssef Youssef, who is a Brazilian living in Canada for several years already. Below are the questions and answers from the interview.
1.Why was the Federation of Canadian-Brazilian Businesses (FCBB) created? For what purpose and objectives did you have in mind when envisioning this important entity?
The Federation of Canadian-Brazilian Businesses (FCBB) www.fcbb.org , is a Canadian, volunteer-based, not-for-profit organization. At the FCBB, we strive to foster entrepreneurship and innovation establish strong relationships between businesses in Canada and Brazil. We do so by assisting Brazilian and Canadian individuals and companies in providing them with opportunities to do business with each other through:
- Connecting Canadian business to the Brazilian market,
- Providing assistance with the design and implementation of an International Business Strategic plan,
- Help with finding potential partners and/or distributors in Brazil,
- Connecting Canadian businesses with one of the Brazilian International Incubator partners,
- Providing guidance with regards to adapting your products and/or services to the local culture,
Currently, the FCBB aims to establish business relations between the two countries at three levels: business, academic and the government. In this regard, FCBB is presently involved in assisting Canadian firms and entrepreneurs in setting up their business operations in Brazil. Various methods of assistance include organizing and facilitating events – both at the local and regional level – as well as hosting international conferences.For this reason, we have established partnerships with Brazilian organizations, including international incubators to assist Canadian entrepreneurs to reach the Brazilian.
Hence, the FCBB through its close links with International Incubators and marketplace and business clusters in Canada and Brazil will enable its Canadian and Brazilian clients to be more innovative as there would be an increase of technological and knowledge-based diffusion. The provision of such incubators helps Canadian companies in the soft landing process as it enables them to test their products/service, learn about the host country’s business environment and thereby accurately determine whether further expansion is feasible. The following diagram provides a structure of the Federation’s current business model in which the aim is to facilitate the soft landing of Canadian companies into Brazil.
2.Who can become a member of the Federation, and what are some of the benefits that you can offer these members?
As a not-for-profit, the FCBB, is open for individual entrepreneurs as well as for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses through two main Membership categories, SME, and Individual members. There are two other classes: Sponsor and Corporate membership. More details can be found at http://www.fcbb.org/become-a-member/
3.The links between Canada and Brazil are still relatively small, compared to the sizes of these two countries, and there are many potential points of collaboration in the business and academic fields, for example. What are some of the main areas where Canada and Brazil can benefit most from when working more closely together?
Yes, I agree, the links are still below our expectations. Brazil is amongst Canada’s priorities regarding International Trade, and a lot of initiatives has been taken by the Canadian federal and provincial governments. These efforts have certainly helped to improve relations between the two markets, and we believe there is still room for improvement in all areas, in particular for SME’s.
One must understand, Canadian businesses have been focused on the US neighboring market, the biggest consumer market on earth. Canadian and American share borders, culture and language and they are members of the NAFTA agreement, and for this reason, most Canadian businesses see the US as a natural partner. The same applies when it comes to Brazilian entrepreneurs, that in my opinion are more focused on developing their businesses in Brazil with a little ambition for internationalization. Having said this, there are tremendous opportunities to be explored between both countries in all areas especially in the knowledge-based economy, where renewable energies and information technology are tipping points. Canada can be used as a proxy for the US market, and the same is true with Brazil and the Mercosul. Brazil and Canada have well-developed mining and knowledge-based industries, both rely on exporting commodities and are active members of the world trade organization. It would be great to see a better partnership between the giants of the Americas and we do believe the time has come for this to happen.
4.What are some of the activities and programs that the Federation organizes? What kind of partnerships does the Federation seek to continue providing these activities and programs?
The Federation is Sponsored and headquartered at the Business School of Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto. Humber is one of the Canadian leaders in Polytechnic Education and is providing us with an incredible in-kind support. The FCBB, has four major programs:
- Bimonthly Networking event, hosted by the Business School at Humber ITAL in Toronto, to raise awareness of Canadian entrepreneurs and inform the local audience about the Brazilian Business Culture, Environment, and opportunities.
- The Soft-landing program where we assist Canadian and Brazilian SME’s in soft-landing in both countries in one of the FCBB’s partners (International Incubators) in Florianópolis, Brasilia and soon in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. For Brazilian Entrepreneurs, our partners in Toronto and Ottawa are welcoming Brazilian Entrepreneurs.
- Weekly Digital Newsletter for Members and Subscribers about opportunities in Brazil and Canada.
- A Business matching program to connect Brazilian and Canadian businesspeople.
Regarding partnerships, as a not-for-profit, we are very open minded and would be very happy to collaborate with any likewise organization, government or private businesses to foster our objectives of improving the trade relations between Canada and Brazil.
5.What are your suggestions for Canadian companies interesting in doing business in Brazil, or Brazilian companies seeking more opportunities in Canada?
We would be very pleased to assist both Canadian and Brazilian businesses. The FCBB has also Business Associates in the States of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina and Mato Grosso. Brazil is still a very promising market despite the challenges, and we are prepared to assist both Canadian Businesses to connect to the Brazilian Market and Brazilian Businesses to soft land in Canada. Canadian Businesses can also have assistance through Global Trade Canada with six trade offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Porto Alegre, Brasíla and Belo Horizonte. The Canada-Brazil Chamber of Commerce in Toronto as well as Canadian provinces who have similar structures in Brazil. Brazilian Businesses can count on the Canada-Brazil Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, the Brazil Siscomex Portal and the trade mission in Toronto.
6.What is the best way to contact you and the Federation?
For more information about the FCBB, and how to collaborate further with them, you can also contact us at – firstname.lastname@example.org.