Brazilian Development Bank to fund acceleration scheme in Rio

The program will support startups active in areas including Blockchain and Internet of Things.

The Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) will be funding a startup acceleration program in Rio de Janeiro for one year with a budget of 10 million reais ($2,5 million).

Dubbed BNDES Garagem, the project could be run by an accelerator or an acceleration consortium. The idea is that the program will be run at a entrepreneurship and innovation center to be set up at a cowering space in Rio, where the Bank is also headquartered.

"This pilot is the first step towards a new way of doing business with the Bank, creating an environment that is more conducive to the generation and growth of Brazilian startups," says BNDES president Dyogo Oliveira.

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The organization running the initiative should select 60 startups by November 2018 to take part in the program. This first round is expected to be followed by a second intake, to be selected in September 2019.

Under the program, ventures will receive services in areas including accounting, legal, technology, PR and digital marketing. Startups will also get access to spaces for events and training.

The Bank is interested in funding projects in areas such as blockchain and Internet of Things (applied to manufacturing, agriculture and smart cities) in addition to security, health, education, financial services, creative economy, as well as environment-related products and services.

Interested parties should submit formal proposals to the BNDES by July 31.

In addition to the acceleration scheme, the Bank is also looking for fintechs focusing on solutions around promotion and access to credit. A "challenge" was launched by the institution around this particular area of focus, inviting possible solutions in the shape of digitization of credit applications, fraud prevention, tools that make access to credit by SMEs easier, cryptocurrency and other technology-based propositions.

Startups active in these segments can apply to take part in the program - which is offering up to 50,000 reais ($12,900) to the most innovative solutions, as well as publicity - by September 3.