Minas Gerais picks 40 startups for acceleration program

One of the highest-profile initiatives focused on creating an innovation ecosystem in Brazil will kick off next month

Today (14) the 40 startups that have taken part in what is one of the biggest government-sponsored tech entrepreneurship beauty contests in Brazil has been announced.

The Startups and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development (SEED) program will take place in Belo Horizonte, capital of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. It will provide up to R$80,000 ($34,000) in equity-free funding to 40 early-stage startups led by up to three people.

Within 22 days from the launch of the application process, some 1367 startups from 32 countries were received by the program. Out of the 40 chosen projects, there are four groups of entrepreneurs from Chine, two from Uruguay, one from Italy and one from India. The remaining projects have been submitted by Brazilians.

Three rounds of the six-month program are expected to take place until the end of 2014. The first round will be split in two intakes in December and early January, to ensure that the adaptation of the chosen entrepreneurs, who in many cases will be moving from other Brazilian regions and countries, is as smooth as possible.

In order to make the moving process for the foreign entrepreneurs easier, the Minas Gerais government and the National Immigration Council set up a partnership whereby the project participants will have a two-year visa.

"To create an highly relevant ecosystem we need diversity of ideas, culture and experiences. That's why the participation of foreigners in the SEED program is so important," says the chief executive at the Minas Gerais State Office for Strategic Priorities, André Barrence.

To view all the selected companies in the first round of the SEED program, visit the project's website.