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Note from BW of Brazil: The surge of more black Brazilians into Brazil’s new middle class has opened the door for the expansion of entrepreneurial ventures for Brazilians of African descent. With the census proclaiming Afro-Brazilians to be the majority in Brazil and the recognition that discrimination often hinders their aspirations, the release of the Brasil Afroempreendedor program, which took place on Monday, August 5th, seeks to help make the plunge into the small business arena easier for this growing segment of the middle class and those with aspirations to “do for self.” The objectives of this initiative were to strengthen the management of the businesses within the national network of Afro-Brazilian micro and small businesses and entrepreneurs, with methods of increasing access to credit, technological innovation and especially investing in the training and education of this segment. Below is how the news agency Afropress reported the event.
Brasil Afroempreendedor (Afro-entrepreneur maker) intends to be as a pilot project capable of radiating complementary actions in other cities and states, that serves the collective organization of black entrepreneurs across the country, currently disorganized and with reduced access to official credit mechanisms. This is the opinion of the SEBRAE consultant and executive coordinator João Carlos Nogueira, for who the participants will have the advantage of “public visibility and access to credit policies.”
The project, a partnership between Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas (Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises or Sebrae) (1), the Instituto Adolpho Bauer (IAB or Adolpho Bauer Institute), of Curitiba, the Coletivo de Empresários e Empreendedores Negros de S. Paulo (CEABRA/SP or Collective of Black Businessmen and Entrepreneurs of São Paulo) and Associação Nacional dos Coletivos de Afroempreendedores (National Association of the Afro-Entrepreneurs Collective or ANCEABRA) was released in a public event at the City Hall of São Paulo, with the presence Minister Miguel Afif Domingos, of the Secretaria da Micro e Pequena Empresa do Governo federal (Secretary of Micro and Small Enterprise) of the Federal Government, the former Minister of SEPPIR, Matilde Ribeiro, Congressman Vicente Cândido (PT/SP) and congresswoman Leci Brandão (PC do B/SP), who were part of the table.
Empreendedores negros (Black entrepreneur makers)
According to Nogueira, there are about 5 million black entrepreneurs, the majority (about 60%) in the south and southeast (of the country). SEBRAE counts, at the moment, 6 million registered small businesses and 3 million individual entrepreneurs, however, it is estimated that this universe will reach 17 million in the country.
The program will cover entrepreneurs in five regions: Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná (all states in the southern region); São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais (in the southeast), Pernambuco, Bahia, Maranhão and Paraíba (in the northeast), Goiás (in the midwest) and Amapá (in the north). Each state will have the opportunity to enroll 100 enterprises.
Nogueira (pictured center in photo) explained that the criteria used for the definition of vacancies started from the “analysis of initiatives of SEBRAE units by state, where there were CEABRAS relatively consolidated and also the regional aspect – to cover all regions of the country.”
“We were on these criteria because there would be no possibility of this pilot following the criterion of black populational density to set the number of projects by state. For this reason, (we went by) a unique number by the state,” he said, adding, however, that nothing prevents the involvement of local and state governments, to expand the number of projects contemplated.
In the beginning, there will be R$4 million (about US$1.73 million) invested, mostly, by SEBRAE, which will be used in training afroempreendedores (entrepreneurs of African descent).
Another point that Nogueira clarified was in said respect to counterparts on the part of afroempreendedores. “The counterparts will be of investments in each of the activities, with the production of materials for training and education,” he said. As part of the training and education seminars are planned – which will take place in March of next year – and will also serve to define the criteria for the selection of 100 projects from each state.
Classe média negra (Black middle class)
Nogueira – who has already held the executive secretariat position of SEPPIR (Secretaria Especial de Políticas de Promoção da Igualdade Racial or Special Secretariat for Policies to Promote Racial Equality), in the management team of the former SEPPIR’s former minister Matilde Ribeiro and had his name considered when the minister left the post – said that entrepreneurship can be “the great lever of a new black middle class in the country.” “The black middle class, 70% of it goes to formal employment and to entrepreneurship. If we create the conditions for more access to credit, and more investments in microempresa (small business), in three to five years, we will have a consistent black middle class with consolidated entrepreneurs,” he said, adding that the black middle class today – still incipient in São Paulo, and virtually nonexistent in other states – has a classic profile because it is coming from services, industry and public service.”
How to participate
To participate in the program interested parties should seek the headquarters of CEABRA and SEBRAE in each state. In São Paulo they should contact the national consultant of the project, Aparecida dos Santos by phone (11) 3333-1066 or e-mail: aparecida.dossantos @ yahoo.com.br.
When talking at the ending of the release ceremony of the project, the minister Afif Domingos criticized excessive bureaucracy and said the state must treat micro and small businesses differently “and not treat everything as a heaping only a heap.”
“We need to untie the knots that impede us; to be an entrepreneur and not be afraid to take a risk. And whoever is not afraid progresses because everyone wants to improve their lives. I really like this movement in the streets,” he said, alluding to the presence of black social movement leaders in attendance.
1. SEBRAE – Sebrae is part of a system created in 1972 – the Centro Brasileiro de Apoio à Pequena e Média Empresa (Brazilian Center for Support to Small and Medium Enterprise or Cebrae) linked to the Federal Government. Since 1990, the organization became an autonomous social service denominated Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas – Sebrae or Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises. Formally, it is a civil nonprofit, created by Law No. 8029 on April 12, 1990, regulated by Decree No. 99.570, of October 9, 1990, subsequently amended by Law No. 8154 of December 28,1990. Source
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