As head of Rio Negócios, Marcelo is responsible for attracting and facilitating inward investment into the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Marcelo, can you tell us more about Rio Negocios?
Rio Negócios was created in 2010 as a public-private partnership, made possible by the joining of forces between City Hall and the Commercial Association of Rio de Janeiro. The agency has already been responsible for the arrival of projects worth about R$3 billion since then. Rio Negócios is the gateway for investors in the city and in Brazil. The goal, in addition to promoting closer ties with relevant bodies, is to facilitate the arrival of new companies, consolidate information relevant to business customers, and also to be an important source of research for the city.
What are the main business areas Rio Negocios focuses on?
We are focusing on eight strategic areas in which we see great opportunities for new investment:
• Energy: The headquarters of Petrobras are in the city and the company has already announced investment of US$225 billion over the next four years. And the city is already the hub for R&D in oil and gas in Latin America.
• High-Tech: we have the biggest talent pool in Brazil, as well as the majority of relevant pension funds, vital for the development of this kind of business.
• Audiovisual: Rio has the highest concentration of companies in this sector in Brazil.
• Hospitality: Besides hosting massive sports events in the next few years, Rio has the biggest average occupancy rate in the country.
• Healthcare: Rio is home to important national and international players in healthcare, such as Fiocruz.
• ICT: The city is going to receive the Center of Media and Broadcasting for 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. We also have a large cluster of R&Ds, incubators and science parks.
• Financial Services: 60% of all private equity managers in Brazil are in Rio, as well as 51% of pension fund assets.
• Infrastructure: Rio is experiencing a great change in infrastructure. The waterfront renovation is the biggest PPP in the country, receiving USD4.5 billion. Also the new mass transportation system, the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), will benefit 700 thousand passengers every day.
How will Rio Negocios facilitate and support companies interested in investing in Brazil?
We have a team of 20 people covering three areas – the commercial sector, with a focus on customers and attracting businesses; business intelligence; and communications. In addition to attracting new investment the agency seeks to retain local businesses and develop the current portfolio of projects. Our first task is to consolidate the opportunities and advantages of the city. This work, done by sectorial analysts, anticipates the facilitation process, when we assist companies in finding a strategic place, in building a relationship with the public administration, and in all stages of project implementation.
Can you detail the amount of investment required to deliver the Olympic Games in Rio, and who is investing in what?
To coordinate the Olympic project, City Hall has created the Municipal Olympic Company. They will be able to explain about the investment required as the budget is to be decided by 2013.
With so many activities around Casa Brasil you’ve been participating in something of a business marathon – can you outline the progress made during the London Olympics?
For 20 days our commercial team was in London, hosting a number of events to showcase the opportunities available to investors, having individual meetings, and also participating in external seminars. We had an outstanding result. After 62 events and 88 meetings we established 900 new contacts from 27 different countries and 13 sectors.
What are the lessons from London that could be applied in Rio?
From the business point of view London knows how to attract investment because of the great events, as China learnt after Beijing Games in 2008. And this was why Rio Negócios was created. We were inspired by Think London, one of the world’s most important entities for attracting investment in the world – it’s pulled $7 billion into London over 15 years.
What are your plans for maintaining momentum with the British business community? Are you opening a trade office in the UK?
We are now looking at possible projects on the basis of the contacts made during this roadshow, and moving to an active follow-up phase. In addition we have a senior Rio Negócios representative in London – Michael Charlton, the former CEO of Think London, who is acting as International Director.
The Brazilian Chamber of Commerce has seen a significant increase in the number of businesses wanting to know more about Brazil and in finding suitable partners there. How can we work together to promote UK-Brazil trade?
We have a great relationship with chambers of commerce all around the world. We organize missions and events for delegations of foreign investors with these organizations, and present the sectorial opportunities for them in Rio. We are looking forward to doing the same work with the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain.
Article taken from Brazil Business Brief, Sept 2012.