This article will give you an introduction to SEBRAE and explain why it is so important to the development of Brazilian businesses. You will understand how this institution works and how your company can benefit from it.
What is Sebrae?
SEBRAE - Serviço Brasileiro de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas - (Brazilian service of assistance to micro and small enterprises), is an institution supporting the development of small and micro companies in Brazil . The main point of their services is to always achieve a large number of companies with high quality information.
Sebrae was created by the Brazilian government in 1972, and it was then named Cebrae, short for Centro Brasileiro de Assistência Gerencial à Pequena Empresa (Brazilian Center of Management Assistance to Small Enterprises), and was managed by the government until 1990, when the institution became private, with the intention to promote a better competition between companies.
Working with empowerment programs, improvement of market access, and supporting partnerships, Sebrae intends to facilitate the market entry for small companies and make it easier for them to obtain credit, reducing bureaucracy and tax burden through partnerships with the government and financial institutions.
Why is Sebrae so important to the Brazilian economy?
According to Luiz Barreto, Sebrae's president, micro and small enterprises represent, nowadays, almost six million of the national enterprises, being responsible for 53% of the formal workforce in the country, being therefore a major employer in Brazil
Sebrae is present in every Brazilian state, offering improvement and good quality information- not only for business companies, but to employers and students too-, regarding the local economy and the process of doing business in Brazil. The services offered by the institutions include both companies and private people, improving the quality of the service provided by both of them. The courses offered by Sebrae are very respected and the institution has a very positive reputation in Brazil.
Sebrae helps micro and small enterprises understanding what is wrong with their business and teaches them on how to became a more solid company, encouraging private people to open their own business, helping to decrease bureaucracy and tax burden, which are the two main problems pointed out by anyone who is trying to open a business in Brazil..
Intending to encourage the competition between entrepreneurs and to improve the economical growth, Sebrae promotes several awards ceremonies for students' projects, such as best micro and small enterprise, best educational initiative, besides awarding companies working with social responsibility, product innovation and others.
Here are some of the various services offered by Sebrae:
The institution offers consulting services to micro and small enterprises already in the market and for the ones that are still a project. Differently from many other Brazilians institutions – that require that the interested part actually go to one of their offices -, Sebrae allows companies to request a consulting plan online or over the phone .
Sebrae offers several courses related to entrepreneurship, many of them focused on:
- Financial Planning
- Individual Entrepreneurship
- Internet for small business
- Customer Service
- Sales Techniques
- Human Resources
These courses can be taken online or in a regular classroom and many of them are for free.
Sebrae offers information about the market, business management, sales and other subjects related to business through major TV channels – such as Pequenas Empresas, Grandes Negócios, a TV show broadcast by Rede Globo and produced by Sebrae -, besides their own online TV channel , Internet (through their website content and online classes), radio, or through one of their units.
The institution is not related to any bank, so it will not provide credit or lend money to micro and small enterprises. What they do is to make deals with financial institutions in order to reduce the tax burden and bureaucracy .
Promotion and market access
Sebrae helps micro and small enterprises to get into the market by promoting the company on business fairs, introducing suppliers and other services of this nature.
The institution also offers individual and group assistance, online or over the phone . A weak point of Sebrae is that the content available on their website in English or Spanish is limited and does not cover many important topics that could be extremely relevant to foreigners . Also, it is important to say that all the services provided are exclusively available in Portuguese.
Is Sebrae helpful to foreign business in Brazil?
Yes, as long as you speak Portuguese. The courses offered by Sebrae are focused on the Brazilian market, so they do not offer classes in English or Spanish. If your company needs a team trained for the Brazilian market, have in mind that they will have to speak Portuguese.
Taking courses or participating on Sebrae activities is easy. All you need is a CPF number (a document that identifies a taxpayer at the Federal Internal Revenue Department), and speaking Portuguese, of course.
If you intend to open a micro or small enterprise in Brazil through Sebrae , you will need a Brazilian representative.
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