Com palestra de abertura do presidente do Insper, Claudio Haddad, o evento Kauffman Fellows Annual Summit 2014 reuniu empreendedores, investidores de risco, líderes políticos e educadores de todo o mundo para discutir as últimas tendências de financiamento e apoio a empreendedores no país.
O Brasil é uma força emergente em empresas de private equity e venture capital, que, juntas, representaram US$ 688 bilhões em 2012. Este valor é equivalente a 72% do total investido na América Latina, onde os investimentos aumentaram 21% em 2012.
O evento foi realizado de 27 à 31 de janeiro de 2014, em São Paulo.
Leia discurso do Claudio durante o evento:
Kauffman Fellows – January 29, 2014
Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure and an honor to open this seminar, for which I thank Phil Wickham and the Kauffman Fellows.
There is a saying that some people are born entrepreneurs. This is certainly not my case.
I was born into a middle class family. My mother was an English teacher and my father was a professor of mathematics and later dean at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In a curious blend, he was also an accountant and Bachelor of Law, and earned money as a real estate developer. Perhaps this helps to explain my role as an entrepreneur in education at a later stage.
Throughout my life, I was fortunate to study at very good public schools, graduating from the Military Institute of Engineering in 1969. At the time, the so-called “Brazilian miracle” was just beginning. The job market was hot and there were many offers for engineering position, mainly at the recently created state-owned companies with very attractive salary and benefit packages, but, against my parents’ advice, they did not attract me.
Instead, I decided that I should know more, went to the University of Chicago, got a Ph.D. in Economics and returned to Brazil to teach and do research. However, after a few years I became increasingly impatient with being an academic and went to the financial markets, joining Garantia, which had turned from a brokerage house into an investment bank, where I stayed, in different capacities, from 1976 to 1998, except for a three-year period as a Director of Public Debt and Open Market Operations at the Central Bank of Brazil.
Garantia was a partnership and the working environment was meritocratic, extremely innovative and entrepreneurial. There, and especially through my senior partner Jorge Paulo Lemann, I learned that big dreams are achievable with focus, hard work and the right people.
In 1998, the bank was sold and, at that time, Brazil was beginning to take education seriously. In addition to the fact that education had always been close to my heart, I detected a market opportunity and decided to venture into the area, acquiring, in March 1999, together with other partners, the educational activities run by a research institute in Rio de Janeiro called IBMEC. At that time, the institution’s college in Sao Paulo was about to open, which was what really attracted me, because I saw an opportunity to do something innovative, following what I considered best practices, unlike what was being done at that time in Brazil. To start from zero is exciting and extremely challenging, but it is much more difficult to change culture and habits in an already established institution, especially in education. In 2003, I bought out my main partner, becoming the controlling shareholder of the institution. In the following year, together with my minority partners, the Brazilian controllers of ABI, we decided to donate all the Sao Paulo activities to a nonprofit institution in order to leave a legacy.
Therefore, the investment made in 1999 evolved today into two main entities: Insper, a nonprofit institution in Sao Paulo of which I am the founder and president; and Grupo Ibmec, a for-profit educational company operating throughout Brazil, of which I am one of the main shareholders and Chairman of the Board. Together with a student financing company, Ideal Invest, of which I am one of the founding shareholders and a board member, these constitute my main ventures in education.
All emerging markets offer many opportunities as well as many challenges; otherwise, they would not be emerging, but already developed. Brazil is no exception to this rule. Our business environment, as shown repeatedly by World Bank reports, is complex, particularly with respect to regulation (both its extent and unpredictability), taxation and rigid labor laws, the time that it takes to solve judicial disputes, basic infrastructure and the list goes on. There has been progress in education, but the general level is still low and this progress has happened at a slow pace, making it hard to hire skilled people. Capital is scarce and expensive in Brazil, unless the borrower is a large corporation or, for any reason, one of the “chosen champions” of the BNDES. This is especially so for new ventures, which normally have to rely on “family and friends.” There is very little “angel” and “venture” capital available. All these factors affect the overall productivity of the country, which has evolved very slowly in recent years and is now the biggest hurdle to more rapid growth.
However, in spite of all these difficulties, the general business climate in Brazil has been increasingly favorable to entrepreneurship. Brazilians tend to be optimistic, flexible and hard working. Success is welcome and failure is not stigmatized. Government, despite the excessive regulation and bureaucracy, is not hostile to business. On the contrary, many government officials tend to see business as an ally to growth, although many times excessive bureaucracy and perverse strong incentives to protect themselves by doing nothing get in the way. Whereas four decades ago, working at a big corporation or state-owned entity attracted most recent graduates, the new dream is setting to set up your own company and get rich. We see this happening at Insper, where a significant number of college graduates create their own start-ups or go to work in small family companies with the goal of making them grow.
What can we do to make it better? Entrepreneurship and innovation have always been close to our heart. Insper has a Center for Entrepreneurship that coordinates many activities in the area, and we have been very pleased to host Endeavor, which has done a terrific job of fostering entrepreneurship throughout the country. Since our beginnings in 1999, Insper has been innovating in an industry characterized by tradition and resistance to change. However, we wanted to do more.
The basic question that puzzled us was, “Why does Sao Paulo not have an ecosystem prone to entrepreneurship, like the ones that exist around San Francisco, Boston and Tel Aviv, which are characterized by strong interaction among academia, entrepreneurs, corporations and capital providers to foster and support start-ups?” What do we need to do to make this happen?
Parallel to this, we were debating at Insper which new academic program would add more value to both the ones we already had and to society. Linking the two lines of thought, we decided that we should create a new program in engineering that focuses on developing entrepreneurial engineers who would be multidisciplinary and able to navigate successfully in our increasingly complex world. How do you do that? What would we take for a model?
Fortunately, Howard Stevenson, Emeritus Professor at Harvard Business School and one of our board members, called our attention to a new college in the Boston area, the Franklin Olin College of Engineering, which was created with the goal of doing just that. I visited them and was fascinated by what I saw and by the sheer energy of the place. We started to talk and, to make a long story short, we have a cooperation agreement underway with them, have raised money from various donors to finance the engineering project, acquired land adjacent to our campus to house the school and hired a core faculty group. We are counting on, subject to approval by the Ministry of Education, selecting our first students at the end of this year and opening our doors with our first class at the start of next year. We will begin offering courses in mechanical engineering, computer/systems and robotics, which were selected for their closer links to entrepreneurship.
We are firm believers in bringing academia closer to the corporate and financial world, an idea unfortunately rejected by many academics in Brazil, partly for ideological reasons and partly for fear of losing intellectual independence. People generally do not realize that the success of Embraer was due to the fact that it was created adjacent to ITA, the Technological Institute of Aeronautics, one of the best engineering schools in Brazil. ITA has supplied Embraer with the majority of its highly skilled engineers and has been fundamental in supplying the manufacturer with relevant research for the production of its aircraft. Skilled, motivated and capable people are always the key.
Our goal is for the new engineers we are going to educate, in association with our current academic activities in the field of business, to give a boost to start-ups and other entrepreneurial activities. The big challenge is to add the finance leg to this equation in the form of angel and venture capital, as well as a liquid capital market to facilitate listings and IPO’s for midsized companies with high growth potential, effectively creating a powerful and self-sustainable ecosystem in Sao Paulo.
As a recent piece in The Economist argues, this is not easy. Many places have tried it, with limited success. However, we believe that Sao Paulo has some important basic ingredients to make it happen. It is the most important business center in the country, where most tech corporations and financial institutions are headquartered. The city has human capital, diversity, scale, infrastructure (which can still be substantially improved), research centers, excellent hospitals (which are important for bio related tech companies), as well as a culture of private initiative and hard work. Coincidentally, our view seemed to be shared by former Mayor Bloomberg of New York, who managed to attract Cornell to set up an engineering school in the city, aiming to achieve objectives similar to ours. It is also comforting to see some business schools around the world trying to incorporate technology in their management and leadership programs, indicating that we are not alone in our chosen strategy.
Whether we will help to create this powerful ecosystem in Sao Paulo remains to be seen. But the dream is worth pursuing, and we will do our best to achieve it.