The myth of the lack of channels to foster innovation in Brazil.

By Werter Padilha, CEO of Taggen Soluções de IoT, member of the committee of the BNDES National Things Internet Plan and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications

In the international rankings that evaluate innovative countries, Brazil does not occupy prominent positions. According to the National Innovation Index, published in 2016 and prepared by Cornell University, the Insead business school and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the country ranks 69th and lags behind other nations in Latin America , such as Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico.

In a survey conducted by Bloomberg, a renowned American portal specializing in economics, which evaluated the level of innovation in 50 countries, Brazil ranked only 47th, from points attributed to various indicators such as number of patents registered, number of patents registered, students in engineering and science courses, number of technology companies, number of research teams, among other aspects.

We have been facing, for some years now, the need to reverse these results as soon as possible and solve some bottlenecks, such as having more agility at the INPI – National Institute of Intellectual Property for the registration of trademarks and patents and to improve the quality of the different courses of engineering in the country. On the other hand, we have a Brazilian ecosystem of growing startups, the implementation of technological parks in different municipalities, accelerators and nascent business incubators, and the evolution of the open innovation model that has the potential to bring together the big ones, medium and small companies of the startups and universities, in search of disruptive or incremental innovation of processes, products and services. I consider this ecosystem a positive aspect for Brazil to advance in the innovative culture, so that we have measurable returns and that improve the competitiveness of our companies in the domestic and foreign markets.

As part of a perspective to create a positive agenda in order to overcome obstacles to innovation, I consider it important to address one of the myths that exist in Brazil: the belief that there is a lack of sources of innovation support for companies. I had a very positive experience in the company of which I am CEO, Taggen Soluções de IoT, with the project to develop the first beacon with 100% Brazilian technology, starting with the partnership with Embrapii (Brazilian Company for Research and Industrial Innovation) and its unit CPqD – Center for Research and Development in Telecommunications. In just over 12 months of working together, we launched the beacon, homologated the device models in Anatel and started using it with several business partners. And with great pride, this project has resulted in a genuinely Brazilian patent of worldwide scope, since our beacon, even acting in BLE 4.0, makes it possible to read its broadcast at a distance of up to 150 meters, performance not found in other similar devices .

Embrapii is able to offer support to companies to become more competitive from an innovation project, reduces the risks, as it enters 1/3 of non-reimbursable resources, and can route the plans quickly and unbureaucratized. A very promising model that can be accessed by companies from all regions in Brazil, since Embrapii has 34 accredited research and development (R & D) units, which contribute more 1/3 of the financial resources to carry out the innovation projects in partnership with companies. The units operate in several areas of competence, such as software and automation, biopharmaceuticals, digital mobility, medical equipment, industrial chemical technology, intelligent systems, among others. Recently, Embrapii signed an agreement with Fiesp – Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo, which should stimulate new innovation projects in the region.

We also emphasize that the universe of sources of innovation promotion in Brazil also has several players, such as BNDES – National Bank for Economic and Social Development; o Sebrae – Brazilian Service to Support Micro and Small Enterprises; Finep – Financier of Studies and Projects; a Develop SP – São Paulo Development Agency; the BRDE (Regional Development Bank of the Far South) and even the Information Technology Law, which offers tax incentives to companies in the technology sector (hardware and automation areas) that invest in Research and Development. Cooperation, that is, partnership can reduce costs for research and development and long-term loans.

The challenge of the entrepreneur is the need to format his innovation project in order to highlight the strategies and value that is being created, such as cost reduction, sustainable competitive advantage, differentiation against competitors of a sector, among others. On the website of INEI – National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, interested parties can find a list of sources of innovation promotion, both public and private.

A conversation with representatives of these institutions and development agencies, participation in events in which these funders participate, contributes to show that innovating is not so expensive or time consuming. We can not let Brazil continue in the position where it is in the ranking of innovation and competitiveness, motivated by the fear of risking or erring, because the biggest threat is to see the Brazilian market dominated by imported technologies, products and services.

We can be idealizers of technological solutions focused primarily on IT and RFID, software developers or even component suppliers.