SÃO PAULO, Brazil – The 2014 World Cup is two years away, but for many Brazilian businesses the games have already begun.
The World Cup is expected to generate 929 business opportunities for micro and small businesses, in nine sectors:
Retail trade (122);
Crafts, culture and entertainment (117);
Woodworking and furniture (106);
Information technology (105);
All of this potential is concentrated around the 12 World Cup host cities, according to a survey conducted between 2010 and 2011 by Brazil’s Micro and Small Business Support Service (SEBRAE), in partnership with the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
The businesses identified in the survey are part of the event’s productive chain, which includes everything from infrastructure to tourism spending, expected to inject R$142.39 billion (US$74.78 billion) into the Brazilian economy between 2010 and 2014, according to the consulting firm Ernst & Young and the FGV.
The SEBRAE 2014 Program has been introduced in order to increase the competitiveness of micro and small businesses focusing on the 2014 World Cup.
“The strategy is to contribute so small businesses can operate using the investments and spending that will be generated,” says Dival Schimidt, the coordinator of the program, which will identify market potentials and advise entrepreneurs. “This is a chance to boost and accelerate business.”
The opportunities for each sector vary according to the timeline, Schimidt adds.
Prior to the event, the business potential was higher for companies working in construction, information technology, woodworking and furniture, and tourism infrastructure.
With the increase in tourism in 2013 and 2014, opportunities are expected to grow for micro and small businesses that work in retail, clothing, services, tourism operations, gastronomy, agribusiness, crafts, culture and entertainment.
The biggest challenge, according to Schimidt, is keeping these markets busy after the event.
“The World Cup, by itself, will not be enough to sustain these businesses,” Schimidt says. “We intend to facilitate the competitiveness of these businesses while ensuring they participate in the economy in a sustainable manner.”
Time to expand
Even a small roadside store by the Floriano Rodrigues Pinheiro highway, about 142 kilometers (88 miles) from the city of São Paulo, may experience an increase in sales with the influx of tourists during the World Cup.
Opened 20 years ago in Tremembé in São Paulo state, Leite na Pista produces and sells dairy products, bread, pastas, cakes, homemade sweets and crafts.
“We’re a rural convenience store that is considered a mandatory stopping point for people headed to the Serra da Mantiquiera,” says owner Inês Dias, who is working to expand the business given the possibility that one of the 32 national teams might stay in the neighboring city of São José dos Campos. “We’re professionalizing our business, adapting, renovating and expanding the customer service area, as well as building new facilities to manufacture products.”
Since 2011, the 15 employees at Leite na Pista have been studying English and participating in SEBRAE training sessions.
In Bezerros, the mountainous region of Pernambuco, located 115 kilometers (71.4 miles) from the state capital, Recife, entrepreneur Tereza Fiuza also hopes to take advantage of the tourism potential of a region located close to a World Cup host city.
With the support of SEBRAE, Fiuza improved her administrative processes and started monitoring the influx of visitors at the Pousada Fazenda Santa Fé.
The number of guest rooms increased from 15 in 2009 to 21.
By 2014, there will be 30.
“We’ll have a high profile in Brazil and across the world since we’re in one of the states that will host the games,” Fiuza says. “We expect excellent results with the increase in our occupancy rates.”
Even in the field of information technology, small entrepreneurs want to take advantage of the World Cup to introduce their products to the global market.
Clansoft, a small software development company founded in 2009, is located in an innovation center in Campinas, São Paulo, maintained with SEBRAE’s support.
The company created the TacticalPad, a management software program for team sports. The application transforms tablets into clipboards, allowing coaches of soccer and other team sports to display their team’s strategy using animated features.
With versions that are compatible with Windows and Mac, the program has been downloaded more than 5,000 times through the App Store. TacticalPad has a basic version, available for free, and a complete version, costing US$25.
Soccer clubs in Brazil including Palmeiras, Ponte Preta, São Paulo, Corinthians, Internacional and Bahia already use the app in their junior leagues.
Outside Brazil, the coaches Alexandre Gama, who leads the South Korean team, and Jorginho, from the Japanese club Kashima Antlers, have also used this new tool.
The biggest opportunities for the TacticalPad are outside Brazil. In England, for example, there are more than 40,000 registered soccer teams of all ages.
“Our biggest challenge abroad is promoting a program made in Brazil, because we don’t have the funds to go to these customers and show them the product,” says Pedro Almeida, one of the founding partners of Clansoft. “With this event, the spotlights will be on Brazil and that will offer us a showcase to display our product.”