The project Managerial Qualification and Insertion in the Business Market under the Small Business Innovation Research Program (PIPE), implemented by the Empreender Endeavor Institute, the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae-SP) and FAPESP, is inaugurating an innovative partnership. The project is transforming into reality half-yearly courses for preparing entrepreneurs for business management and for their market insertion. But the great novelty lies in the model adopted for qualification: it integrates the programs already existing in the three institutions involved in the projects, exploits synergies, and expands the return on the capital invested. “Each partner participates in its own area of competence, combining innovation, companies and research”, says Marcelo Dini Oliveira, the manager of Sebrae-SP’s Innovation and Access to Technologies Unit. FAPESP is placing at the disposal of the project its expertise in selecting and accompanying technological innovation projects; Empreender Endeavor, experience in the selection and strategic support for innovative entrepreneurs and in managerial qualification; and Sebrae-SP, its know-how in the management of the business of small companies and its relationship with the market.
The courses – which will be run by W-Institute, a contracted educational partner – are the nucleus of the project. They will be held in 49 municipalities in São Paulo that house projects financed by PIPE, and the first group will have one hundred participants. Part of the activities will be require the presence of the entrepreneurs and will take place in facilities offered by FAPESP. Other activities can be carried out at a distance, using the e-learning tools. The entrepreneurs will also have free access to meetings on strategic counseling, and an equally free participation in weekly seminars, besides having the opportunity for developing projects of specific interest to their companies, with the support of postgraduate students from enlisted universities, recruited by the educational partner. These students may for example, collaborate in drawing up and carrying out the company’s business plan, one of the difficulties most commonly pointed out by entrepreneurs in search of venture partners.
“It will, in fact, be a course with consultants”, sums up Marília Rocca, the director-general of Endeavor, a non-profit organization that started its activities in Brazil in 2000, with the mission of generating jobs and income by fostering the entrepreneurial culture based on opportunity and innovation. The participants will also be able to consult – electronically – a network of 300 volunteer businessmen kept by Endeavor, which brings together directors of companies like Danone, Cisco, Votorantim Metais and Microssiga, just to mention a few examples. They will also have advice from lawyers specialized in pertinent subjects and with wide experience in the market, likewise linked to Endeavor. “The program is innovating, because it gathers elements that do not go hand in hand in technology based companies: the qualification of the businessmen, focused on the need for innovation, with guidance on patenting and on venture capital, besides qualification for the development of new models”, says Marília.
Sebrae-SP is going to include the entrepreneurs taking part in the projects in business circles that concentrate on the area of technology, as well as publicizing the program amongst the companies in its network, with the objective of bringing new candidates to PIPE. The project will be coordinated by a specialist – already hired by Endeavor and who will be located in FAPESP – responsible for implanting the timetable of work, preparing the communication material, operationalizing the classes, applying the formulas for assessing the project and preparing the pre-selection interviews, amongst other things.
Besides qualifying entrepreneurs and guaranteeing the competitiveness of their company on the market, the project will also be able to foster partnerships between companies and schools and to develop technologies for accessing the market and educational programs aimed at the needs of the public. “There is nothing like it in Brazil”, concludes Marília. “This may be a model for qualifying managers”, observes Oliveira. The project is budgeted at R$ 808,400. Sebrae-SP will be responsible for bearing 49% of the total cost of the project, and Endeavor and FAPESP, together, will make a financial contribution corresponding to 16.91% of the total cost. The companies taking part in the program will also contribute towards the cost, with R$ 100.00 per entrepreneur.