Foreign entrepreneurs wanted for Brazilian acceleration scheme

Start-up development programme in Minas Gerais state starts second round

The Minas Gerais government wants foreign entrepreneurs to join its start-up acceleration programme designed to retain talent and bring investments to the Brazilian state.

Start-ups and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development (SEED) is a R$15 million (US$6.2 million) initiative launched last year . It provides up to R$80,000 ($34,000) in equity-free funding to 40 technology-based, early stage start-ups led by up to three people.

The first round of the programme commenced in December 2013 , with 40 projects chosen from the 1,367 start-ups pool of applicants from 32 countries. Current foreign participants include three groups of entrepreneurs from Chile, two from Uruguay, one from Italy and one from India.

According to the managers of the government initiative the participation of foreigners is a way to introduce diversity of ideas, culture and experience. The government has also partnered with the National Immigration Council to facilitate the visa process for the non-Brazilian participants.

The acceleration and mentoring programme will last six months and, during that time, the participants must be based in Minas Gerais’ capital Belo Horizonte and be part of a tech cluster dubbed ‘San Pedro Valley’. Free mentoring and workspace will be provided, as well as introductions to potential backers.

In order to remain in the program, the participants will be required to report on their progress and have their strategy and business plan execution evaluated by the consortium running SEED, which includes companies such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon.

The selected companies will be announced on March 17 and entrepreneurs are expected to start the programme on May 13. Interested parties should apply online by February 3.