NBSO Belo Horizonte visit to Municipalities of Itajubá, Santa Rita do Sapucaí and Pouso Alegre
NBSO Belo Horizonte visited the South region of Minas Gerais to explore opportunities for Dutch suppliers of technology and knowledge. The following areas of focus of the Dutch Economic Network in Brazil; Energy, Science & Health and High Tech systems and Materials, are well represented in this region due the presence of a large number of companies with activities related to these fields as well as federal and private universities doing research in these areas.
The three municipalities visited in this Region have easy access to the three main consumer markets in Brazil; Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, representing 53% of national GDP within a range of 400 km. The region can be typified as far enough from the big city problems but close enough to the consumer markets.
Access to consumer markets as well as suppliers is facilitated by easy access via Highways and proximity of Sea ports (also dry ports) as well as Airports. As a reference the figure below shows the distance from Santa Rita do Sapucaí, which lies in between Itajubá and Pouso Alegre, to the main consumer markets and (air) ports.
Besides the strategic location, the three cities offer incentives to establish new companies such as plots of land to establish new or expand existing companies and a trained work-force (all cities offer technical education and have federal or private universities)
The Netherlands is already connected to this region through cooperation between the Federal University of Itajubá (UNIFEI) and Eindhoven University, the presence of a large Unilever plant (Pouso Alegre), Ducth DAF truck cabins are produced in the Flamma Automotive Stamping factory (Pouso Alegre) and a Philips plant in Varginha.
A variety of international companies have already found their way to Itajuba and installed industrial capacity as well as R&D activities In the municipality. To mention a few: Alston T&D (Belgium), Cabelauto Brasil (Portugal), Mahle Anéis (Germany), Helibrás (France-Brasil), Emdep do Brasil (Spain), Stabilus (Germany) and Teleflex do Brasil (USA).
The Federal University of Itajuba UNIFEI has a modern campus and Brazilian and foreign multinationals have developed joint activities as well as on campus research Labs. The center for entrepreneurship of UNIFEI has a lively and successful startup program, an incubator as well as state of the art facilities to produce hardware prototypes.
By uniting forces, in August 2017 the Itajubá Association of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (INOVAI) initiative was launched. INOVAI was created due to a consensus among entities of the federal, state and municipal government of Itajubá, as well as, industry associations, commerce and educational institutions, because they understood that Itajubá has the mechanisms to generate income based on science, technology and innovation. As a practical result, plans for a new science park were developed and national and multinational companies are invited and supported to set-up research and development activities.
St. Rita do Sapucaí
Santa Rita do Sapucaí is also known as the “Electonics Valley”. Over 150 companies active in the electronics sector assemble products for foreign companies as well as develop and produce national technology. Skilled labor is readily available through solid technical education trough the ETE, as well as a the INATEL (reference in telecom studies) and FAI university campi.
The employer’s union SINDVEL plays an active role in the local business community. Through direct links with the municipal government as well as state government and their ties with FIEMG (the Federation of Industries of Minas Gerais) Sindvel will be able to facilitate tax advantages and show access to incentives. Mr Roberto de Souza Pinto, Sindvel´s presidents welcomes Dutch companies to get in touch in order to find a local company to produce and distribute its products for the Brazilian market.
In Pouso Alegre NBSO visited the factories of FLAMMA Automotives and Unilever as well as the regional offices of FIEMG. At Flamma Automotives, part of the Aethra group, car parts are produced for a number of international brands. One of those brands is the Dutch DAF company and FLAMMA produces two types of cabins for the factory in Ponta Grossa. The plant manager, Mr. Luiz Machado, showed the modern production facilities and informed on the investment in Hot Stamp technology, creating over 200 new jobs and the companies positive growth perspective for the coming years.
In Pouso Alegre, the Dutch-British Unilver has been present since 1974. Nowadays it produces the product lines of ADES juice and Knorr and recently added the Mãe Terra product line (organic products). They are currently investing heavily in order to bring the Helmanns Mayonaise production from Goias to Minas Gerais. Mr. Edmundo Antonio Mollo, the plant manager, explained how the plant reached the status of carbon neutral and the shift in consumer preference towards organic products, creating shortages in the national organic supply-chain.
The last stop of the program was at the Regional offices of FIEMG in Pouso Alegre. Mr Sebastião Rogério Teixeira, the new vice-presidente of FIEMG for the Southern Region, welcomed NBSO together with representatives of the main employer’s unions.
The regional headquarters are an initiative of FIEMG to extend service to the entire state of Minas Gerais, thereby decentralizing the programs and services aimed at the industrial segment and facilitating the participation of entrepreneurs in the definition of their strategies and policies of action. FIEMG Regional Sul unites 13 Business Unions from important sectors of the local industry.
As a whole, we were pleasantly surprised by the level of activity in the Dutch focus sectors as well as the positive investment climate created by the cooperation between government, universities, industry and industry representations. We consider the region a potential destination for Dutch cooperation in Technology and Services as well as a potential location for establishing a foreign subsidiary.
Foto registration of the visits:
Sergipe Street nº1167 – Room 1502 Funcionários – BH/MG CEP: 30130-171