In 2021, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-26) highlighted concerns for the future of the planet and the need to move the market towards more sustainable production chains. At the heart of this discussion is the bioeconomy, an approach that is essential to the development of production models that are more concerned with their social and environmental impacts and that seek greater harmony between economic development and environmental preservation.
In this context, in the Amazon region, Brazil has enormous potential to invest in the bioeconomy and stand out worldwide.
From the Amazon are extracted raw materials that are transformed into food and beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, rubber, clothing and accessories, among many other products capable of promoting the sustainable development of the region and stimulating the Brazilian economy.
For this reason, it is necessary to invest in innovation in the Amazon, connecting good local initiatives – which value the standing forest and a low carbon economy – to global chains. It is important to state that there is many important people, ideas and studies in the region, but they lack incentives to local entrepreneurship.
The current state of the ecosystem of innovation in the region
In recent years, Brazil had a setback in its environmental policies and in 2021 deforestation in the Amazon reached the highest rate in 15 years. This only increases the need to promote activities of sustainable entrepreneurship in the region, to value human, biological, and material resources of the forest and help preserve them.
However, there is an important factor that prevents this advance, which is the lack of partnerships with the private sector and the consequent gap between production of knowledge and the creation of new business.
In fact, the Amazon region has a diversity of players with strong potential to activate the region’s ecosystem of innovation. The problem is that the actors on the production chains are highly dispersed and disconnected – from each other and the market – which leads to low efficiency of resources invested.
This creates an abyss between demand and supply, directly impacting local communities, which have gained little from existing opportunities or benefit little from the added value that could be generated locally.
In this context, without the perspective of a complete chain – from the forest to the market – and without innovations capable of creating value for the Amazon region and diversifying demand, this ecosystem is not able to attract the investments needed to develop the bioeconomy and keep forests standing. After all, attracting the private sector requires competitive opportunities.
If the standing forest is not economically competitive in the face of agribusiness, it is necessary to create inductive environments propitious to the creation of economic competitiveness for sustainable forest products and to promoting innovation at scale on the value chain.
Innovation in the Amazon: why it is necessary to encourage entrepreneurship
The velocity of Amazon destruction demands a growing capacity to produce innovation in a diversified manner. To do so, the activation of an ecosystem stimulates innovative proposals, values local opportunities, and generates economic and socioeconomic value for the region and is essential to create incentives to impact entrepreneurship at scale.
By allowing local actors to act in an integrated manner – mobilizing their creative and productive capacities associated to forest conservation – it is possible to enter a new situation that is favorable to social inclusion, protection of biodiversity and mitigation of climate changes.
To activate and strengthen the ecosystem of innovation in the Amazon region is to create the conditions for this to happen. This involves stimulating the rise of entrepreneurial talents, promoting the creation of startups and mechanisms for programs that can strengthen the ecosystem, such as incubators and accelerators.
How to create incentives to the culture of innovation in the Amazon?
A mapping conducted by the CERTI Foundation in 2019 found that in the Amazon region there is a clear gap at the beginning of the journey of an innovative enterprise. There are various graduate courses and research lines with potential to create value for the forest and communities, but few companies in the bioeconomy.
This finding is important for highlighting the need to inspire and awaken new talents for the culture of entrepreneurship, innovation, and impact proposals. It is necessary to support the rise of new leaders who are capable of creating and developing new enterprises.
For this reason, it is necessary, once again, to activate the ecosystem of innovation of the Amazon region, which involves promoting the protagonism of youth in the creation of solutions that add value to the local production chain.
The CERTI Foundation acts as an idealizer and coordinator of the Amazon Journey, an initiative to support entrepreneurship in the Amazon region, which seeks to activate and strengthen the ecosystem of innovation of impact and the development of the bioeconomy based on the local forest. To learn more, continue to read our blogs.