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jul 03, 2017

Startups are about to revolutionize Brazil’s agribusiness

One of Brazil’s leading economic sectors, entrepreneurs across the country are flocking to agribusiness. Agribusiness-based startups, the so-called agrotech, have expanded massively over the last five years, complementing traditional companies’ work. Advances in technology are helping farmers become more competitive, and could strengthen Brazil’s hold on the market.

Agrotech can offer plenty of benefits to modern farming, from real-time information collection to decision making. Realizing how much agrotech entrepreneurs can bring to the sector, new funding initiatives are now surfacing.

Monsanto is one such company beginning to offer specialist funding for Brazilian agrotech entrepreneurs. The multinational corporation will contribute between 250,000 BRL and 1.5 million BRL in funding through a startup accelerator, BR Startups.

Monsanto is also working with a digital agriculture company, The Climate Corporation in Brazil. In an interview with Brazilian media, The Climate Corporation in Brazil’s leading executive Mateus Barros said that the partnership will stimulate the digital agriculture sector.

“The startup is that company born of an entrepreneur with an excellent idea that addresses a real problem of one of our customers,” he said. “We will help accelerate this process with investment.”

But a handful of homegrown initiatives are also at work. New program Startup Farm, which opened in April 2017, will be selecting 12 agrotech startups to undergo a 6-month acceleration program. The idea is attracting international investment, with sponsorship from Google for Entrepreneurs, Visa, IBM and Baptista Luz Advogados.

The program will supply a broad network of mentors, investors and market experts to help new entrepreneurs. It hopes to help the 12 startups selected to become fully-fledged businesses within the six-month period. Selected entrepreneurs will be given intensive training at Google’s São Paulo campus, learning about every element of running a business from choosing a model to sales and fundraising.

Alan Leite, CEO of Startup Farm, said that it’s agribusiness’s dynamic nature that makes it such a promising sector for entrepreneurs. “It creates opportunities for the most different startups, be they agrotechs or other sectors,” he told Brazilian media.

After the intensive program, entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to present their projects to investors and executives at large companies in a Demo Day. Additionally, Startup Farm has said that it may add another 150,000 BRL to one of the new businesses.

In June, UN Environment has also joined forces with Brazilian governmental bodies Embrapa and SEBRAE, hoping to incentivize sustainable grain production chains through startup programs and initiatives. The three entities will join forces to provide funding, training and networks for entrepreneurs and startups looking at sustainable grain production.