Volume 10 | Issue 2 | Year 2007

Opening and conquering a new business territory requires significant evaluation of the local environment. Local competition and an understanding of the cultural and economic landscape play a large part in a well-conceived business plan. But collecting data is the easy part. You can easily use the Internet to search the U.S. Dept. of Commerce data and other leading sites and indicators about Brazil. But once you’ve grabbed the data, the next step is to check it against the real world. The best next step is to start attending some Brazilian industry tradeshows.

Why should you come to a tradeshow in Brazil? For one, Brazil offers a great business opportunity in a safe environment. Today the country is recognized as having a stable government and great respect for international investors. Brazil’s credit rating from international agencies like Standard & Poors is the best it has been in the last decade.
In addition, the current exchange rate is favorable for foreign enterprises to do business in Brazil. This is especially true in the realm of industry and manufacturing. Brazil is a rapidly ascending, industrializing nation. Also, Brazil’s emerging consumer market is huge and its growing middle class offers significant growth for the future, with a long-term potential.

Top spot for trade shows
Recently, Brazil’s international rating for congresses & events jumped from 21st place in 2002 to 11th place in 2005 internationally, according to ICCA, the International Congress and Convention Association. And it’s in São Paulo where you’ll find the largest and best infrastructure in terms of venues and services for events in all of Latin America. Some 80 percent of the tradeshows in the country are in the metropolitan area of São Paulo. It is a modern, advanced city with one of the world’s most efficient metro systems and a huge business infrastructure that reflects the trends of the international business world. It is the stage and backdrop for a large number of business events each day, adding up to over 70,000 events per year, which cover a wide range of diverse industry segments.

The largest tradeshows list is available at the São Paulo Convention and Visitors Bureau site http://www.spcvb.com.br/eventos/eventos.asp. You may have to decide among several tradeshows that cover the same vertical segment: auto tradeshows, the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) meeting or car tuning shows. In the clothing and textiles business, a dozen different shows are available, like the São Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW) or Fenit, the fabrics industry tradeshow. The menu is expansive and the variety is great, so start by visiting a few shows and getting a feel for the region and its business and social styles.

After visiting a tradeshow or two, you’ll have a better understanding of the environment and you’ll be more equipped to make a decision about when and how to form partnerships to further your interests. You should spend more time developing the territory, then sign a contract with a rep, experiment with franchising companies for your product or services, or open a local office or plant. Having an advisor with a good understanding of the local market and the American way of doing business will help speed up and process and eliminate errors and unnecessary costs. One thing is certain: as more and more of the world’s companies are doing business in Brazil, the market will continue to expand and the big South American country will continue to become a major part of your international operation.

Marcelo Thalenberg is an entrepreneur running a consulting business in Brazil, he sold his former distribution company to Avnet inc. a Fortune 500 company. Reach him at marcelo@myboutlook.com.

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