Andrew Zacharakis – Forbes, 4/10/2013
I’m fortunate to have traveled to Brazil a couple of times a year for the last decade. The country is amazing; the physical beauty of the Amazon, the luxurious beaches of Rio, the splendor of Carnival and the warmth and joy of its people. During my trips, I’ve seen an incredible transformation. The country has enjoyed tremendous economic progress over the last 20 years thanks to the reforms of Presidents Cardoso, Lula and Dilma, although there is still plenty of need for additional reforms. Within this dynamic environment, I’ve had the opportunity to witness entrepreneurship first hand, working with Endeavor (a non-profit that transforms economies by working with high-impact entrepreneurs), SEBRAE (Brazilian Micro-Enterprise and Small Business Support Service – a quasi-government agency similar to our Small Business Administration), and my academic colleagues from leading universities like FGV and Insper amongst others.
Brazil is entrepreneurial. One in six adults is either trying to launch a business or is the owner of a new venture less than 42 months old and another one in six is running a more established venture. That 30% of the population is quite a bit higher than the 22% here in the US. During my work in Brazil, I’ve noticed a few things that make the entrepreneurial environment particularly exciting and some obstacles that are holding back this powerful engine.