Manaus, a hub of innovation and opportunities

Manaus is a strategic access point to Brazil's market, also offering the prospect of investments in bioeconomy and a transition towards a more sustainable economy, read all about this hub.

The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has posed challenges no one was prepared for, and innovation has been instrumental in keeping many industries running.

It enabled us to continue the learning processes through virtual learning platforms, it has developed secure systems for companies to migrate towards home-office, it has allowed businesses to deliver products through delivery applications, and it was innovation that produced mechanical respirators and applications that allow us to monitor crowding points or monitor the symptoms of the coronavirus.

Besides being fundamental in facing the crisis caused by the coronavirus, innovation will play an important role in ensuring the sustainability of businesses in the post-pandemic period. According to a survey published last year by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI, for Confederação Nacional da Indústria), the growth and survival of 83% of industries will depend on their ability to innovate and, for 31% of entrepreneurs, the demand for innovation will be high or very high in the years to come.

To meet this growing demand and accelerate access to knowledge and solutions generated by tech companies and startups, Brazil has several innovation poles. While not being among the most cited hotspots like São Paulo, the scenario in Manaus is very promising. Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas and with 2,2 million inhabitants the most populous city in the north region of Brazil. It houses a structured cluster in the north of the country and develops solutions for the regional, national, and global markets.

Manaus and its Location

The proximity to the industries based in the Manaus Free Trade Zone allows it to precisely and rapidly identify the challenges of each industry and offer solutions that can be replicated by other companies anywhere in the world. Fiscal incentives in the region, such as a 88% reduction in import duty and no taxes for industrial goods, have made Manaus a strategic access point to Brazil’s market for over 600 global companies, including some of the world’s largest. Moreover, being located in the middle of the Amazon, the innovation ecosystem in Manaus can explore the possibilities of the bioeconomy and contribute to the transition to a more sustainable economy.

This scenario has generated a great demand for entrepreneurs and opportunities for people with qualifications in various areas of technology, and many companies have not been able to fill the vacancies with professionals from the region. This creates opportunities for specialists from other parts of Brazil who are looking to relocate in the job market and are passionate about the innovation scene. Not to forget, another mentionable perk of the free trade zone is the 75% reduction in income taxes when the flow is transferred exclusively to reinvestments.

Manaus, in general, is not a traditional destination for technology specialists, but the city offers excellent structure for the development of projects and research, and the innovation produced in the capital of Amazonas benefits different regions of the globe. An indispensable actor in the region’s innovation ecosystem is the Sidia institute of science and technology, Brazil’s largest R&D institute. Sidia is active in implementing innovative digital solutions for the local and global market. Founded in 2004 in Manaus, it mainly operates in the development of embedded software for cell phones, tablets, new wearable technologies and smart TVs, platform and application for virtual reality glasses, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and creation of world-class games. As its newest milestone it founded the Manaus Tech Hub (MTH) in 2019, a broadly and internationally connected technology and innovation hub that promotes development and growth of startups with open innovation and new business opportunities, connecting companies, government, and entrepreneurs. The modern and agile organization is an ideal accelerator and access point for new businesses that seek to gain a foothold in the north region. The goal is to unite and connect startups and local actors such as Sidia to create a “digital concentration” that can compete with more prominent markets in the south-east. Most recently, the MTH has kicked off new programs that support startups from the education and health sector. This provides an interesting chance for Switzerland’s prominent health tech scene, not only to widen their market cap but also to contribute to pressing health related issues in the region. And last but not least, for those who decide to explore the professional field in Manaus, the city also offers quality of life with the structure and services of a metropolis, allied with the proximity to the natural beauty of the Amazon.

Over the years, innovation has been essential in solving many economic challenges and Manaus has its arms open for professionals who want to employ their knowledge to contribute to the improvement of Brazilian industries and population. While being popular amongst the market’s giants, Manaus is so far only little explored by international startups. However, depending on the product and business model, the Manaus innovation ecosystem can be a valuable opportunity for companies aiming to internationalize.

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