Amazon Journey: activation of the Ecosystem of Entrepreneurship and Impact Innovation


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The preservation of the Amazon forest, like that of other biomes, is directly linked to entrepreneurship and impact innovation, which can generate value for the standing forest, thus contributing to its conservation. 

This article presents the potential for activation of an innovation ecosystem in the Amazon region, the Amazon Journey initiative, and the three stages of innovative entrepreneurship. 

What is the potential for activation of the ecosystem of innovation in the Amazon?

Since late 2018, the CERTI Foundation has mapped the potential of the innovation ecosystem in the states of the Brazilian Amazon. The objective of this mapping is to understand and then construct strategies to activate the potential of the region by generating innovative solutions that give value to the standing forest. The study found that: 

  • Between 2015 and 2018 at least 360 startups were created in the region, and the work of 35% of them can in fact create value for protected forests. 
  • Some 80 scientific institutions in the Brazilian Amazon are responsible for a total of nearly two thousand research lines associated to technologies and products with potential to generate value from biodiversity. 
  • More than 158 colleges and universities offer 2,700 undergraduate courses in the fields of knowledge needed to train entrepreneurial talent in the region. 

Although the Amazon states have this important educational infrastructure, to activate the local ecosystem it is necessary to stimulate an entrepreneurial culture focused on innovation, feeding a pipeline that drives the creation of new businesses. 

The 360 startups identified since the beginning of the mapping are the result of more than 20 mechanisms and programs to support entrepreneurship. In addition, more than 50 incubators and accelerators are working in the region. However, most of them have a low level of maturity and competitiveness. 

Thus, to generate business and innovative solutions that help conserve the forest, the process to create startups must have a much larger scale. This should be accompanied by greater rates of success, speed of growth and socioenvironmental and economic impact.

For this to be possible, it is necessary to create a synergy between mechanisms of origination that can strengthen and qualify them to provide the support, resources and proximity to the market needed so that new innovative projects can prosper. 

This last point is essential. The true success of the startups depends on alignment to the market and more mature ecosystems. During the mapping, more than 350 medium and large companies were identified, from different countries, which are seeking to develop products based on the Amazon biodiversity.  

In a B2B model, these organizations stand out as potential partners or clients of the startups developed in the Amazon. 

Amazon Journey: strengthening impact entrepreneurship

Based on the information from the mapping, the CERTI Foundation developed the concept for the structure of the ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Amazon region, considering the requirements, mechanisms and functions needed to promote businesses of impact in the Amazon. 

The focus is on promoting enterprises that can help reduce deforestation by using concepts of the bioeconomy and encouraging business with positive impact. To do so, the mechanisms created should act according to the needs of these new entrepreneurs, helping them until they become mature businesses. 

The Amazon Journey  was born from this structure. Initiated in 2019, the objective of the initiative is to promote the potential for activation of an ecosystem of innovation in the Amazon states that would allow developing innovative solutions for forest conservation. 

The challenges to activating the ecosystem in the region 

The Amazon Journey thus took on a great challenge. During the mapping of the region, it was found that although there are many players with enormous potential to activate the Amazon’s ecosystem of innovation, in many cases, these actors are found dispersed and not-integrated.  This is reflected in low productivity and poor efficiency of the resources invested. 

Moreover, there is a problem with the lack of organization along the chain. Actors at the base of the chain have poor connections with the market.  This creates an abyss between demand and supply, directly impacting local communities, which gain little benefit from the added value. 

Thus,  the Amazon Journey understands that it is necessary to generate a view of the complete chain (from the forest to the market), giving priority to innovations that can generate value for the standing forest, diversify demand, and reduce the vulnerability of local enterprises. 

All of this must take place in a context in which, until today, the conserved forest is not economically competitive with the commodities found in the region and the exploration of lumber and cattle. The economic competitiveness and attractiveness of the sustainable chains require innovation at scale.  In other words, they involve activating and stimulating the region’s ecosystem of innovation. 

Moreover, the Amazon Journey seeks to expand the business opportunities based on biodiversity, giving value to standing and preserved forests. This involves strengthening impact entrepreneurship, and stimulating innovative proposals that can generate economic and socio-environmental value.  

The objectives of the Amazon Journey

The initiative has five large objectives:

  • Promote the economic competitiveness of the standing forest, creating value for biodiversity through innovation;
  • Develop talents for entrepreneurship and stimulate research focused on products and processes with a positive impact for the forest, acting at the base of generation of knowledge;
  • Provide incentives to the rise of new solutions that, like açaí, give value to local opportunities, market demands, and socioeconomic and environmental sustainability of the Amazon forest;
  • Strengthen the connection between industry and sustainable and regenerative forest chains; 
  • Contribute to the mitigation of global climate changes, with systemic action in various Sustainable Development Objectives  (SDGs/UN).

Based on these goals, the Amazon Journey proposes ambitious goals for the next five years. These include the preservation of 1 million hectares of forest directly linked to businesses, as a result of the work of innovative production chains. 

In addition, it is estimated that:

  • R$ 400 million will be generated through sustainable production
  • 400 innovative enterprises will be created
  • 40 thousand talents will be impacted

The moments of innovative entrepreneurship


The mapping conducted by the CERTI Foundation revealed a gap at the beginning of a company’s journey: although there are many courses and research lines, few companies in the bioeconomy develop in the region. 

Thus, the activation stage aims to awaken new talents for entrepreneurship with impact, putting ideas into action so that in the future they can change their own realities. 

The implementation of mechanisms for this moment generates an important entrepreneurial culture to activate the ecosystem. Among its guidelines are the diversity and prominent role of youth. For this reason, this stage is based on a partnership with universities and technical schools. 


The origination of new companies in the bioeconomy is essential to the creation of an important ecosystem of innovation. Without the creation of new companies, the scale cannot be attained to promote the changes envisioned.

In this stage, the objective is to stimulate local enterprises with ideas that are already formulated or that need improvement and transform them into new businesses, capable of generating a positive impact for the forest and the communities involved.  

The mobilization of local talents and knowledge needed for the creation of new solutions and businesses helps to leave a legacy beyond the startups. This movement affects the mindset of researchers, students, and entrepreneurs, showing them a new perspective. 


The moment of Evolution involves promoting connections that give potential to innovative solutions. This is the stage in which partnerships are established and in which the businesses already created connect with the market to develop new solutions and technologies that will expand their chances for success.

These connections are steered to promote new opportunities in the sustainable bioeconomy chain, which generates benefits for forest conservation. 

The CERTI Foundation conceived of and coordinates the Amazon Journey. To learn more about the initiative, acess the project site. 

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