When it comes to Entrepreneurship and Socio-Environmental Impact Businesses (NISA), today the reality in Brazil points to a lack of scalable businesses, as well as an unfavorable environment for entrepreneurship. The challenges become even greater when they involve initiatives that work with socio-biodiversity chains.
Aiming at contributing to a more favorable environment for impactful businesses, Humanize defends strategic investment and entrepreneurial education. In addition, we work with ecosystem partners to strengthen strategic financing initiatives and support the pre-acceleration and the acceleration of sustainable businesses.
We operate this way because we believe that strategic philanthropy is one of the answers to transforming, for the better, the impacting entrepreneurship environment. In this sense, working in partnership opens the way for other capital – coming from multilateral agencies and public and private sectors – to join and complete this ecosystem.
Part of this ecosystem, Humanize marks its portfolio with several initiatives that are strengthened through collaborative work. In the 2019-2021 cycle, the Entrepreneurship and NISA program brought together 32 projects and came to life mainly in Amazonas, Pará, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro.
In the same period, this portfolio was responsible for contributing with results such as: more than 100 young people who are connected to rural areas were trained in entrepreneurship; over 300 producers and extractivists got access to credit; and more than 600 producers and extractivists were trained in the scenario in which the program operates. These numbers were achieved by supporting actions such as accelerating impactful businesses and fostering intermediary organizations.
Two good examples, which are part of the Institute’s portfolio, are the Amazon Entrepreneurship Center (“Centro de Empreendedorismo da Amazônia” in Portuguese) and AMAZ – impact accelerator (AMAZ Aceleradora de Impacto).
The first one works in the promotion and articulation of sustainable businesses in the Amazon through the program Amazon UP – which pre-accelerates businesses. In addition to institutionally contributing to the Center, Humanize is one of Amazon UP’s supporters. Focused on forest, biodiversity and land use, the program’s target audience is technical school students, university students and recent graduates.
The supported business models are focused on the priority production chains in Pará, including açaí, cocoa and fishing. Amazon UP is carried out in four stages. It all starts with the dissemination of the opportunity, which will result in the selection of business models based on the criteria: innovation, feasibility, sustainability and adherence. The third step involves workshops, a period in which entrepreneurs experience mentoring, living in the forest, positive psychology initiatives and debates, and structure their business models. The last phase is called Summit and consists of startups’ presentations of their prototypes. It is at this stage that entrepreneurs present their business prototypes to potential investors.
Another case of inspiring initiative within Humanize portfolio is AMAZ, an impact accelerator. After just over two years accelerating impactful businesses in the Legal Amazon, a period in which it received the support of Humanize and of our partners, the Acceleration Program of the Partners for the Amazon (PPA) Platform became, in 2021, the AMAZ.
Understanding AMAZ goes through the origin of the initiative, when PPA gathered all the issues involving acceleration. The platform was created to be a catalyst and enable the construction of innovative solutions focused on the sustainable development of the Amazon. All of this together with companies and the private sector, through the structuring of studies, partnerships and promotion of an impactful business environment – which started to offer more solutions for entrepreneurs in the Amazon region.
Therefore, AMAZ was born after two years of learning on the road, having accelerated 30 businesses, invested in several of them and understood the peculiarities and diversities of this ecosystem in the Amazon. An initiative of IDESAM and several partners, including Humanize, the initiative fosters new development models for the Amazon. The work takes place through acceleration and investment in startups and entrepreneurs whose activities contribute to keeping the forest standing, as well as valuing traditional knowledge and generating work and income for their populations.
With a name that pays homage to the Amazon while referring to the verb to love (“amar” in Portuguese), AMAZ aims at developing and identifying tangible and innovative solutions for the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources, as well as guaranteeing the quality of communities’ life in the region.