ANPROTEC: Promoting Innovative Enterprises

Authors

Sheila Oliveira Pires

Jorge Luis Nicolas Audy

Vice President ANPROTEC

audy@pucrs.br

 

 

 

Sheila Oliveira PiresSheila Oliveira Pires

Executive Director ANPROTEC

sheila@anprotec.org.br

 

 

 

Anprotec – the Brazilian Association of Science Parks and Business Incubators, represents the interests of business incubators, science and technology parks, and innovation centers in Brazil. It operates through training activities and the articulation of public policies as well as the generation and dissemination of knowledge. Over twenty-five years of experience, it has 270 members representing incubators, science and technology parks, education and research institutions, government bodies and other entities, focused on entrepreneurship and innovation.

As the organization that led the Brazilian movement for science and technology parks and business incubators, Anprotec’s purpose is to reinforce these institutions as instruments for the country’s sustainable development, aiming at the creation and strengthening of knowledge-based companies. With this in mind, the Association supports entities that promote innovation, and trains entrepreneurs and managers of technology parks and business incubators, aiming to:

  • Strengthen the leadership, representativeness and involvement of its affiliates;
  • Consolidate and expand institutional relations and alliances;
  • Help define and prepare public policies related to innovative entrepreneurship;
  • Guide the development of the movement in harmony with major technological, economic, social and environmental trends
  • Create and improve new services, projects, and programs, for business incubators and science and technology parks.

HISTORY

Founded twenty-five years ago, Anprotec’s trajectory is directly linked to the development of business incubators and technology parks. The implementation of these environments in different regions has spread the idea of innovative entrepreneurship throughout the country, resulting in the consolidation of one of the world’s largest science and technology parks and business incubation systems.

In the first decade of the movement, between 1983 and 1994, incubators expanded at the rate of little more than one per year; in the second cycle, which began in 1994 with the maturation of the Association and ended in 2007, they grew by an average of 30% per year. In the current cycle, the aim is to maintain their number at around 400, while making a concerted effort to increase their effectiveness, which has been one of Anprotec’s main priorities in recent years.

Science and technology parks are gaining strength in Brazil, which now has ninety projects in various regions of the country (thirty of which fully operational). In almost fifty years of activities, the improvement in competitiveness of those locations where business incubators, business accelerators, and science and science parks and poles operate has been remarkable. These mechanisms for supporting entrepreneurship and innovation have marked the trajectory and evolution of Anprotec, and have made a substantial contribution to consolidating a strong and competitive knowledgebased industry, creating more favorable conditions for the addition of technology and innovation to Brazil’s established industrial, agricultural, and service sectors. Confident in the work of the institutions it represents, Anprotec, together with the various partners involved in each of its initiatives, continues to do everything possible to ensure that innovative entrepreneurship makes a decisive contribution to Brazil’s sustainable development.

INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN BRAZIL

In Brazil as in other countries, business incubators and technology parks promote innovative entrepreneurship. The purpose of a business incubator is to help entrepreneurs to develop pioneering ideas and transform them into successful undertakings. In order to do so, they provide infrastructure and guidance on how to manage the business and improve their competitiveness, among other essential corporate development issues.

According to a 2011 study by Anprotec and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), Brazil had 384 functioning incubators with 2,640 incubated businesses creating 16,394 jobs. They have already led to the foundation of 2,509 fully-fledged companies employing around 30,000 people and turning over US$2 billion per year. The same study revealed another important fact: 98% of incubator “graduates” innovate – 28% locally, 55% nationally, and 15% globally.

Experience shows that the incubation process results in a series of benefits for the entrepreneurs involved. By offering support, the incubator increases the chance of success of businesses. In addition to being able to take advantageof favorable infrastructure conditions and training initiatives, the companies occupy the same space as other innovative undertakings of the same size, enabling heightened interconnectivity, favoring the growth of the business and facilitating access to the market.

In the case of technology-based companies, the entrepreneurs have access to universities and research and development institutions, with which many incubators maintain ties. This helps reduce costs and the risks associated with the innovation process by permitting access to laboratories and equipment that would otherwise require heavy investments.

Technology parks, in turn, are carefully planned science-andtechnology-based productive industrial and service complexes. They are highly structured, concentrated, and cooperative by nature, comprising companies whose production is based on R&D. They help to promote a culture of innovation, competitiveness, and business ability, grounded in the transfer of knowledge and technology, in order to help the surrounding region produce more wealth.

The latest Anprotec studies indicate around thirty Brazilian technology parks in operation and more than ninety under development (some in the project phase and some undergoing implementation). In 2008, they housed around 500 companies, jointly responsible for 26,200 jobs.

The parks benefit their associated companies as well as the region and the economy as a whole, by generating an environment of cooperation between innovative companies of all sizes, from microbusinesses to multinationals, to science and technology institutions. This is because they offer high value-added services, streamlining the flow of knowledge and technology, and helping to create specialized jobs and ensure the growth of an entrepreneurial culture and activities. They also favor the formation of innovation clusters and improve the competitiveness of their surrounding regions.

Despite Brazil’s notable advances in recent decades, there are still important challenges to be overcome, ranging from promoting innovation in regional systems through consolidating management of the incubators, to harmonizing public policies and financing all stages of the creation and consolidation of the emerging companies. Anprotec is convinced that these challenges will only be overcome through public and private partnerships, political will, and prioritizing innovative entrepreneurship as an instrument for sustainable development.

ANPROTEC’S ROLE ‐ MAIN INITIATIVES

Anprotec operates directly with the promotion of innovative entrepreneurship in Brazil by supporting science and technology parks and business incubation. To this end, it develops various educational, promotional, and knowledge-based initiatives, and creates partnerships and programs to support these mechanisms and the associated projects.

Generating Knowledge

Through agreements with partnering entities, Anprotec helps generate knowledge of the best practices adopted by the Brazilian innovative entrepreneurship sector, and has published books, catalogues, studies, surveys and reference material, in order to divulge and share information on the subject.

Dissemination

Strategic to the consolidation of the movement, the dissemination of innovative entrepreneurship is accomplished through communication channels targeting members’ various stakeholders, including the media, partner institutions, and the community, among others.

Training

In addition to the annual seminar on Science Parks and Business Incubation, Anprotec holds courses and meetings throughout the year in various regions of the country.

National Award

Created in 1997, the annual National Award for Innovative Entrepreneurship recognizes projects, business incubators, technology parks, and graduate and incubated companies, which strengthen the movement through their initiatives, services and products. Every year, there are reports of people and institutions that make a difference in the regions where they operate, transforming the social and economic status quo.

International Missions

In order to promote knowledge of innovation mechanisms and systems, periodically Anprotec organize international missions, allowing managers of business incubators and technology parks, as well as public administrators and other professionals who work in the area, to familiarize themselves with institutions around the world that have achieved great success in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation. Countries visited include Finland, Norway, Israel, the United States, Germany, and Estonia.

Anprotec Seminar on Science Parks  and Business Incubation

Each year Anprotec, in association with the Sebrae (Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service), holds the Anprotec Seminar on Science Parks and Business Incubation, one of the largest events of its type in the world. By uniting institutions with a common interest, the seminar is an important tool for consolidating innovative entrepreneurship in Brazil, and helping to strengthen business incubators and technology parks, as well as public policies related to science, technology and innovation. The discussion of issues that are fundamental to economic and social development, the fruitful exchange of experience among the participants, and the resulting proposals are attracting increased numbers of participants from Brazil and abroad.

The five-day Seminar is held every year in a different region of Brazil and includes plenary sessions, lectures, minicourses, parallel meetings, strategic meetings between movement agents and technical visits. Since 1993, the event has included the Anprotec Workshop, a forum dedicated specifically to Anprotec associates, aimed at ensuring a detailed discussion of issues considered strategic for the development of business incubators and technology parks in Brazil.

Cerne

Established in 2006 by Anprotec, the Cerne (New Project Support Center) is a new business incubator operational model, which aims to constitute a platform of solutions to increase the capacity to systematically generate successful innovative projects. This creates a reference base, whose elements can be used by business incubators in different areas and different sizes to reduce inconsistencies in achieving business success.

Strategic Partnerships

Anprotec is convinced that the success of the incubators, parks, and innovating companies, depends entirely on the successful establishment, cultivation, and improvement of institutional partnerships. Accordingly, the Association has a substantial group of partners, who realize common objectives in the form of programs, projects, and cooperative initiatives, whose results always generate tangible benefits for the entrepreneurs and their nascent companies.

Its main partners include the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), the Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade (MDIC), the National Confederation of Industry (CN), the Brazilian Association of Technological Research Institutions (ABIPTI), the National Association of Research, Development and Engineering of Innovative Companies (Anpei), the International Association of Science Parks and Areas Of Innovation (IASP), infoDev and the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN).