Rio De Janeiro’s entrepreneurial spirit exists, however that being said, it is not as advanced as America’s, nor as formal. After the gondola ride over the favelas, two young boys came up to us and sold us water bottles (probably refilled from their own sink) for about twice as much as any store in the city. An 11-year-old hustled the entire group, and that is the fundamental principle of entrepreneurship: finding out how to make a quick buck.
In the early 2000’s, Brazil had a lack of initiative when it came to advancing math and science, engineering, and advanced level technical positions. But in 2006, it all changed. The pre-Salt layer was discovered off the coast of Brazil, and since then the entire country has been pushed into overdrive. Colleges are offering incentives for engineering programs, salaries are shooting through the roof, and programs like the Parque Technologico Do Rio are beginning to lay out real businesses and ideas that will help the country progress its way through the most profitable potential it has ever experienced.
The Rio Technological Park is operated by the university in Rio and is a business incubator for both small and large companies. While the focus is primarily on oil and natural gas development, Filipe Martins, the communications director for the park, says that the goal is to diversify the focus of the incubator.
The 350,000 square meter park hosts 42 companies of various shapes and sizes. GE, Siemens, EMC2 and others also house, or will house, their research centers in the park and receive various tax benefits for doing so. However, while they receive tax incentives they are also required to put 1% of their revenues towards research and development that goes towards the university and Brazil. This may seem like a small portion, but for billion dollar companies, this provides tremendous potential for growth and development in the booming country.
Oil Finder, a small business currently being cultivated within the incubator, is focused on finding the best ways to locate and then retrieve the oil located miles under the ocean.
The entire country is holding their breath for what the pre-Salt layer could hold. It has the potential to provide thousands of high paying jobs, millions of barrels of petroleum and provide Brazil the boost it needs to be a major player in the energy and economic stage. However, Brazil’s checkered past when it comes to the vast natural resources the country holds, gives cause for worry for nearly everyone involved. “Brazil’s oil and gas cannot be another cycle. In 5 years everyone would be gone, and in 10 years everything will be gone,” said Martins. “It cannot be just another cycle.”
The cycles he refers too deal with the lumber, sugar, coffee and other natural resources that foreign and domestic companies have pillaged. The rain forest in northwest Brazil was deteriorating at rapid rates, and there is just now an effort to derail the massive deforestation.
For Brazil to be successful in the oil industry worldwide, Petrobras and the Brazilian government need to carefully delegate the ways in which the oil is acquired manufactured and dispersed around the world.