SWISSNEX - Final Pitch Competition & Closing Event

From the inside of the 9th Cycle of the Academia-Industry Training

Incentivizing entrepreneurship, international collaboration, and thinking beyond borders was the driver of the Academia-Industry Training 9th Cycle Camp Brazil last November.

– By Camila Schmalz, Junior Project Manager, and Sofia Costa, Communications Manager at Swissnex in Brazil.

The Brazilian sciencepreneurs met their Swiss counterparts for an intense week of activities last November. They were joined by some of the program’s Alumni, taking on the opportunity to have an in-person experience since the pandemic did not allow it last year. As a result, 23 brilliant minds gathered in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to learn from each other, challenge their entrepreneurial skills and deepen their understanding of the Brazilian market and innovation ecosystem.

The week began at InovaUSP with an Innovative Profile Training led by Flávia Helena from the Fleury group. In the afternoon, the participants engaged in a pitch training session. Each participant faced the challenge of presenting their solutions in one minute without any slides or visual support to develop their business communication skills and to be exposed to a common scenario when pitching to investors or potential partners in Brazil.

Mentoring session in São Paulo

The day ended with a mentoring session where each participant had the chance to sit down with two Brazilian experts in their field to give them tailor-made support to accelerate their business.

On Tuesday, the group spent the day at The Bakery, a relevant actor in Brazil that works to help ambitious corporates innovate through open innovation and partnerships with startups. The day’s mission: to gain deep insights into the Brazilian Startup ecosystem.

It started with an introduction from Marcone Siqueira, The Bakery’s co-founder. Later, Mark Wormser from Xingu Capital complemented with a presentation on startup funding and investment in Brazil. A concrete case study was then presented by Cristiane Ferreira Taneze, explaining Visa’s open innovation strategy and programs involving startups. In the afternoon, the sciencepreneurs worked on their Business Model Canvas, focusing their solutions on the Brazilian Market. Later, they attended a roundtable composed of experienced AIT Alumni happy to share their knowledge and learnings of doing business in Brazil.

The Welcoming Cocktail occurred at the Swiss Residence in São Paulo, hosted by the Consul General Pierre Hagmann. The group learned about their options after the program through short presentations from Swissnex and the Swiss Business Hub. They also followed two AIT startup Alumni who pitched their solutions showcasing the program's relevance for their current success. They enjoy the evening networking with relevant Brazilian corporate representatives, investors, venture capitalists, mentors, and other actors from the innovation and startup ecosystem.

Workshop on changing theory and impact innovation

For its last day in São Paulo, the sciencepreneurs discovered Swissnex’s office. They engaged in a workshop on changing theory and impact innovation led by Alda Marina Campos from PARES and Pablo Handl from Impact Hub. Before heading to the airport, the participants split into groups and visited three corporates: Natura, Nestlé, and Albert Einstein’s Hospital’s innovation hub, Eretz.bio. The participants were able to understand better these corporates’ work, innovation challenges, and their governance on open innovation and partnerships with startups, already leaving the site with insights and connections to create future partnerships. 

The fourth day began in Rio, at the Swissnex office, with a speed mentoring session, when each participant got to connect with different mentors to create a more extensive network in Brazil. Afterward, the group headed to the Rio Innovation Week to spend the day at the event that brought together business, networking, branding, technology, numerous startups, different hubs, incubators, and workshops with brilliant tech and innovation minds. The sciencepreneurs also participated in a pitch training showcasing innovative solutions from Brazil and Switzerland.

The last day of the AIT started with a visit to the PUC-Rio Innovation Lab to discuss science communication with Ana Percebom. And to close the week, the whole group participated in the Final Pitch Competition. Each participant had the opportunity to pitch their solution to a jury and celebrate the Swiss and Brazilian winners with partners, mentors, speakers, and the Swissnex in Brazil and the University of St. Gallen teams.

It was an intense week filled with innovation, business, and impact. The participants got to network with people from different sectors and developed their science-based solutions and startups to reach the next level. One following potential step for the Swiss sciencepreneurs is participating in the Innosuisse Internationalization Camps after the AIT in 2023 to validate their business hypothesis and plan a successful entry into the Brazilian market. The Brazilian and Swiss sciencepreneurs left the Program with many new ideas and excellent connections, including between them all, to create better solutions for the world’s future.

We will see them again at the Swiss Camp in March 2023!

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