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AMAZ selects 06 innovative businesses for its portfolio in 2022

Photo: AMAZ pre-acceleration (Note: all participants were tested and immunized against Covid-19)

Six high-impact businesses operating in the Legal Amazon will receive investments from the accelerator

AMAZ impact accelerator concluded the process of selecting the businesses that will be accelerated and invested in 2022. 

The six businesses work with innovative solutions for the development of products and services in strategic value chains for the conservation of the Amazon in areas such as reforestation, carbon projects and forest conservation, oil production, food and community-based tourism. 

Those selected were BrCarbon, Floresta SA, Inocas, Mahta, Soul Brasil and Vivalá. The businesses operate in the states of Acre, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia and Roraima.

The six will undergo an acceleration process in 2022 and will receive an initial investment of R$ 200 thousand, with the possibility of reinvestment (follow) of another R$ 400 thousand at the end of the process. The group was selected from among 156 businesses enrolled in the 2021 Call promoted by AMAZ. 

“We were very impressed with the quality of the business, the scale of impact we can achieve, and the potential to practically build a new economy allied to forest conservation in the Amazon.”, assesses Mariano Cenamo, AMAZ's CEO.

The approximate impact potential of the six selected businesses, between five and ten years, includes more than one million hectares of preserved forests, more than 700 thousand tons of avoided carbon emissions annually, 3,700 hectares of recovered forests, hundreds of benefited families and injection of around R$ 30 million into local communities.

Know the business

BrCarbon = Climate Tech Brasileira dedicated to forest conservation and ecological restoration specialized in carbon projects. With a highly qualified team, it uses innovative strategies and cutting-edge technology to accelerate, multiply and consolidate carbon and forest management projects in Brazil.

Floresta SA = Implements regenerative models of agroforestry production at scale, with a portfolio of 10 agricultural and timber crops. In addition to bioeconomy products, it brings to the financial market an opportunity for direct investment in agroforestry in the Amazon, with a target return of 17% per year. 

Inocas = Its objective is to generate an alternative to soy and palm oil, leveraging the macaúba production chain as a source of sustainable vegetable oils. The company's pilot plant is located in the Cerrado biome region of Alto Paranaíba, MG, and will have implemented, by the end of 2021, the planting of 2,000 hectares of macaúba in an agroforestry system in partnership with family farmers. With the entry into AMAZ, the company will expand its operations to the Legal Amazon in 2022. 

Mahta = Foodtech that operates in the area of food supplements produced with ingredients predominantly from Amazonian communities. It aims to generate innovation and value, in addition to reducing negative environmental impacts, through production chains with the participation of local communities, a model that can be replicated for systemic change in the food industry. Simultaneously, it will deliver differentiated nutritional value to consumers, boosting the conservation and regeneration of the Amazon.

Soul Brasil Cuisine = Its mission is to present products with ingredients from Brazilian biodiversity – especially the Amazon – sustainable, organic, vegan and free of artificial substances for Brazil and the world. It has been in the market for almost three years, present mainly in emporiums and supermarkets on the Rio and São Paulo axis, in addition to exporting to the United States and Europe. The products have organic certification.

cheers = Conducts expeditions in Brazilian Conservation Units through community-based tourism. It promotes the country's socio-environmental development in an innovative way, bringing together experiences with communities and nature in expeditions. It has already engaged more than 900 travelers from 10 countries and injected R$ 627,000 directly into traditional communities by purchasing community-based services. 

About the selection process

Call 2021 promoted by the accelerator received 156 entries, of which 12 were selected to participate in a pre-acceleration process that took place in November, from a face-to-face meeting in Presidente Figueiredo, Amazonas.

Entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs worked on the Model C methodology, seeking to better understand the functioning of their businesses and the positive impacts they generate or are capable of generating, in addition to reflecting on how they can improve their business models as well as impact indicators and narratives that can add even more value to them. 

The immersion provided a lot of exchange and connection, and the group built its own business models and matrix of positive impacts, while generously contributing to the construction of other business models. 

The performance of the businesses in the pre-acceleration process, together with the steps taken by the AMAZ team to better understand the performance of each one of them and the performance of pitches in December, with the participation of investors and partners, were the factors that determined the choice .

About AMAZ

The impact accelerator AMAZ is coordinated by Idesam (Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Amazon), and has a hybrid financing fund (blended finance) of R$ 25 million for investment in impact businesses over the next five years, the first focused exclusively on the region.  

Its founders and strategic partners are Fundo Vale, Humanize Institute, ICS (Instituto Clima e Sociedade), Good Energies Foundation, JBS Fund for the Amazon and Partners for the Amazon Platform (PPA). It also has a wide network of partners such as Move.Social, Sense-Lab, Mercado Livre, ICE, Costa Brasil, Climate Ventures and private investors. 


Model C, applied in AMAZ's pre-acceleration, encourages business and impact to be thought of together

Photo: Antonio Ribeiro (Move Social) and Lucas Harada (Sense-Lab) during AMAZ pre-acceleration | by Rodrigo Duarte – Odara Audiovisual

O Model C, methodology used in AMAZ's pre-acceleration, was created in partnership between the Sense-Lab and the Social Move, with the support of the ice and the Grupo Boticário Foundation. Based on two tools that have been used to model socio-environmental impact businesses – Business Model Canvas and Theory of Change -, Model C proposes an approach that respects, values and nurtures both with the purpose of contributing to mature impact businesses , guiding and encouraging that the business and the impact are thought of together. 

Launched in 2018, the tool has been applied in various acceleration and training processes, with different profiles. According to a survey carried out by Sense-Lab in November this year, 3,723 downloads of the Model C Guide have already been carried out, including 24 Brazilian states and 11 countries. The tool has also been the object of academic studies. 

Model C was used by the Acceleration and Impact Investment Program of PPA, coordinated by the Idesam and which evolved into the independent accelerator AMAZ, which concluded in December this year the selection of its first Call for Business. 

The last stage of the AMAZ selection process is the pre-acceleration, which took place during the month of November from a face-to-face meeting between the finalist entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in Presidente Figueiredo, Amazonas. During a four-day workshop, Model C was presented to a group of 12 finalist businesses, who worked on it on an individual scale, with application in their own business, and collectively, as they met other entrepreneurs and opened up to suggestions brought by them to from the design of the models of each one.

AMAZ spoke with Antonio Ribeiro, from Move Social, and Lucas Harada, from Sense-Lab, who facilitated the application of Model C with the group. In this interview, the duo assesses the tool, its application to businesses operating in the Amazon ecosystem, and highlights adjustments that have gradually proved necessary since the creation of Model C from practice. 

Where did the snap to create Model C come from?

Antonio Ribeiro (AR): The two organizations, Move Social and Sense-Lab, have a practice of working with impactful businesses and in different ways. And the two were already facing limitations of some approaches and tools. Sense-Lab in relation to the Business Model Canvas and Move in relation to the Theory of Change. When we sat down with an impact thing and started thinking about the Theory of Change, we realized that it couldn't handle it alone. We tested a few things and got to Canvas, which also couldn't handle it. We started exchanging ideas and came a movement to sketch something together. What we knew beforehand was that it couldn't come from our minds, because we weren't in the field, we weren't leading projects of that type. So it would be necessary to somehow involve these other actors who were in the field.

Lucas Harada (LH): At Sense-Lab, we were working with our own acceleration programs and impact businesses. And there, we got stuck a lot, because looking at impact is looking at a whole matter of intentionality, seeing what the person believes, their view of the world, in short. It takes a descent so big that it is not possible to represent it in a business model that only brings the value proposition, which is the Business Model Canvas. We created a more impact-oriented Business Model, but we realized that it still didn't deliver what was needed. Because we experienced the entire impact journey with the entrepreneur and the model did not reflect that. I don't remember exactly how Sense-Lab and Move Social came together, but ICE was a good intermediary, I remember his good provocations. 

AIR: ICE has a very interesting role, instigating, bringing references, and also in appointing Fundação Grupo Boticário as a supporter. And there was a whole construction involving several actors. Model C has things that the Theory of Change doesn't have and that Canvas doesn't have either, but essentially it is an instrument that starts from these two tools, which are already very well known. And that gives a legitimacy. 

Since the creation of Model C, what balance do you make about the implementation of the acceleration processes you have been working on and the impacts?

AIR: Acceptance and usage has been good. There is a wide range of organizations using, and even a master's thesis on Model C. The main power of Model C is the questions it raises for people. It's a non-copyright tool, open for people to use. What we've noticed all this time is that the better the support, the facilitation, the better Model C works. We've already done processes to make the template available for people to fill out and then schedule a two-hour meeting, but that hasn't worked well for everyone. It is an instrument that gains with facilitation, support and time. And time has also shown us that the time for a review is coming. Either to change the names in the boxes or to include the individual. We still don't have a consensus on this, but I argue that we need to enter with another dimension, which is the individual.

LH: Model C, in this format that we are applying with AMAZ, in pre-acceleration, works very well. It's a good diagnosis, a good place for initial questions, a guide to realize how much clarity you have about the business. And then how it unfolds into a development plan of action. But what I always hear is that, as much as we try to involve many organizations, many visions, it still has some formats and nomenclatures that generate doubt. And we also have challenges in applying for community business models or those that have less of an entrepreneurial, startup footprint, are more collective. 

AMAZ is experimenting with Model C in the pre-acceleration of the business, and before, when we were acting as a program under the PPA, the application was made with the business already accelerating. It's a format change brought about by our experience for AMAZ. How do you analyze this? 

AIR: When this demand came from AMAZ, to include Model C in pre-acceleration, we analyzed that it was very pertinent. We had already used the model as a business diagnosis in 2020. In two or three days we were unable to come out with a super round Model C. We have qualified, improved the steps we take so that businesses come out with a model as round as possible, but it is not enough time to leave with everything finalized. Coming to the end of a facilitation process with Model C ready is not the end point. The entrepreneurs' reflection process already shows the moment they are in their business, what are the weaknesses and strengths. There are often people who have never thought about impact. And impact can be thought of at different levels, in the short, medium and long term, and one thing depends on the other. Putting these in little Model C boxes, well, that sometimes starts in the shop, but it takes a while. So using this moment as a diagnosis is very good, and being in pre-acceleration makes a lot of sense for us. Both to help entrepreneurs come out with good models, which can be useful for any step from now on, whether or not they are selected for the acceleration of AMAZ, but also to help them understand the maturity of the businesses and their leaders, to qualify better the look to decide who stays and who leaves. 

LH: I have the same vision. Model C is a good process as a diagnostic view. It also helps to work on concepts and context, because impact business is not a widespread topic in all regions of the country. So, when we are in a region that is building an ecosystem, as in the case of the Amazon, and sometimes the call for business brings some entrepreneurs who are not familiar with this universe, it is important to take a moment to tune everyone in. The application of the model in pre-acceleration has enormous value for businesses to look at its impact, describe indicators, in short. It's a very good gain, because even if this organization doesn't go into acceleration, it can take advantage of all this experience to enter other rounds with partners and investors. Not to mention the exchange that this process promotes, which is perhaps the richest part of it all. The benefit is not just for the companies that will be selected, but for all the finalists. 

AIR: This exchange that Lucas mentioned is very important, and Model C helps in that too. Of course it can be applied as a tool only focused on each one's business, the entrepreneur sits down and does it alone. But the model also facilitates a collective process. Each one builds his own, but are we going to change? Putting people from different places, with different backgrounds, to hear about the business and bring suggestions? This is pretty potent, and happening at pre-acceleration creates value for everyone. Help everyone improve their storytelling and look at their business. 

What impressions do you have of this ecosystem in development in the Amazon and the application of Model C in particular?

LH: I think that the development of this ecosystem as it is happening is of great value. We have a conversation within Sense-Lab about what the acceleration programs are for. Because that says a lot about the potential of an acceleration program. When you have a program that calls business and says it's going to speed it up and it's going to solve problems, I see a lot of boundaries and little connection to the reality of business. And here, first with the PPA Acceleration Program and now with AMAZ, in both cases under the coordination of Idesam, I see a very significant growth in the strengthening of this ecosystem. Because when a program leaves the acceleration itself and expands its gaze to solve common problems, such as logistics, and brings partners and promotes interaction, it actually advances in strengthening the ecosystem. And this is essential when you want to work on the local economy and involve these actors. And that's why I think this work is very recognized. A value that this whole process brings is also the investment and looking at the Amazon beyond business. It brings very diverse actors, and this starts to gain strength and attract attention. Putting the Amazon in the spotlight is something that several organizations are doing. But Idesam, with AMAZ and also since the PPA program, managed to bring a very good visibility to all this that has been carried out.

AIR: Idesam understood many years ago that transforming the reality of the Amazon would not happen if it wasn't collectively. Like some other organizations working in the Amazon. When Idesam, via PPA, created the Acceleration Program, there was already this premise that this reality would not change unless efforts were made. And AMAZ follows, for having Idesam in its genesis, in its ancestry, this premise. To work together, with different sectors, whether they are actors who are doing and thinking about business, but also investors with diversified profiles. 

You mentioned that at some point it would be important to make revisions to Model C. From this accumulation, what are the pains that activate this vision?

AIR: They are inconveniences that we have been noticing in the workshops and in the processes. In some cases we have already made changes and applied new things. We need to make the Model C Guide available for download to reflect this as well. Questions of context, of problems, may also change. And there is a need to have a box for the individual, which is about principles, assumptions, which have to do with the way of doing that business, because today there is no space in the model to capture what causes these things. 

LH: There is another point. Having the frame there and knowing what each thing means doesn't say about how to take it to an application, to everyday life. The guide further explains what it is than what it takes to practice. And the changes to Model C have to do with how you experience that experiment. The way we work is different since we launched the guide. And for me, there is a great discomfort, which is in the approach to organizational capacity. There is a lack of how to do it, which enters into the individual aspect, as Antônio said, but also into a matter of governance. You can be more provocative about that. AIR: This year, for the first time, we are testing some additions to the model, bringing an instrument for entrepreneurs to do a self-assessment after experiencing Model C. How much they know about the context, how much they realized by filling in the model and reflecting on it all. Entrepreneurs leave with the perception of how they are, what are the deficits, where they need to look for information, what they need to do to make up for what is lacking. He assembles a spider chart with the scores and will see how he is performing on Model C. We are testing this here for the first time with AMAZ. And there's something we thought at the beginning, to create a website, a kind of forum, where people could post their experiences. There is a lot being done, and it would be interesting to take these experiences and share, maybe having a C Models bank.


AMAZ completes the pre-acceleration process of the 12 finalist businesses and will announce selected in December

Photo: Rodrigo Duarte | Odara Audiovisual

** Entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, AMAZ team and facilitators were immunized and were duly tested, with all the necessary health care in the covid-19 pandemic. Most of the activities were carried out in open spaces.

Between November 8th and 11th, entrepreneurs from the 12 businesses selected by AMAZ for the pre-acceleration were gathered in Presidente Figueiredo, in Amazonas, to build Models C. It was a time to look at their own businesses, but also to get to know the other finalists and make connections with them. 

The process was facilitated by Antonio Ribeiro (Move Social) and Lucas Harada (Sense-Lab), who explained the dynamics of Model C, the concepts it brings and guided the businesses in a practical elaboration workshop. 

During the four days, entrepreneurs were immersed in the understanding and use of the tool, seeking to better understand the functioning of their businesses and the positive impacts they generate or are capable of generating, in addition to reflecting on how they can improve both their business models and impact indicators and narratives that can add even more value to them. 

“It was very special to be able to meet all the male and female entrepreneurs in person after such a period of isolation. It is said that the entrepreneur's life is very lonely, and especially in a time of pandemic. We felt a great power between the exchanges and the learning they could have these days. For us at AMAZ, it was also a very important moment, because we had the opportunity to get to know each business and each entrepreneur in a more sensitive and profound way”, assesses Mariano Cenamo, new business manager at Idesam and AMAZ's CEO.

The four days of immersion provided a lot of exchange and connection, in which entrepreneurs built their own business models and positive impact matrix, while generously contributing to the construction of other business models and receiving collaboration for the development of their own models. 

This construction, individual and collective, brought a very significant connection between businesses that, although different from each other, have many similarities about operating in the Amazon. 

“This exchange is really rich. Hearing the step by step of each of the initiatives, which have their differences, but at the same time their similarities, makes us learn a lot”, says Daniel Cabrera, from Vivalá, a business that carries out expeditions in Brazilian Conservation Units through community-based tourism. 

Maria Elisa Ribeiro, from Aromas da Amazônia – whose main objective is to meet demands and services in the agribusiness segment with a focus on low-carbon technologies - highlights the importance of immersion to better understand her business: “We discover issues in our business that do not we had not even imagined it from this immersion and this workshop. That was what was needed for us to consolidate and understand ourselves better as a business”. 

Edgard Calfat, from Mahta – foodtech that works in the area of food supplements produced with ingredients predominantly from Amazonian communities - was surprised by the established connection: “We were surprised by the quality of the people, with their preparation, this methodology and the wealth of exchanges”.

“The methodology applied helps us to be clear about the impact that our impact generates. Looking at our project and communicating it in a more efficient way”, assesses Thiago Campos, from Floresta SA, who works with scale regenerative models, with a portfolio of ten agricultural and wood crops. 

“With this workshop, we are going to have a more modern business plan, with some goals that we are already designing for the future,” says José Lima, from Coopercintra, a cooperative in Acre that operates in the exploration and sale of non-timber forest products.

“Entrepreneurs are already very ready, with few points to improve in their business model and impact, things they can learn together, within their differences and potential. Keeping this exchange between them, so that they can leverage and advance in their business models and generate impact for the Amazon at the end of the day, is very important”, analyzes Ana Carolina Bastida, investment and acceleration manager at AMAZ.

Next steps

The performance in the pre-acceleration process, together with the results of the visits made by the AMAZ teams to the businesses - in which it was possible to see in loco how each one works and also to analyze finance, governance and management of the projects - will be taken. into consideration when choosing the six businesses that will be accelerated and will receive investment in 2022.

In December, on the 14th and 15th, entrepreneurs participate in a Demoday, presenting their businesses to AMAZ investors and partners, which will also be decisive for their choice. The results will be announced next.

The six chosen businesses will participate in an acceleration process, will receive an initial investment of R$ 200 thousand, and may be reinvested in up to R$ 400 thousand. They also become part of AMAZ's portfolio. 

AMAZ impact accelerator is coordinated by Idesam (Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Amazon), and has a hybrid finance fund (blended finance) of R$ 25 million for investment in impact businesses over the next five years, the first geared exclusively to the region.  

Its founders are the Vale Fund, the Humanize Institute, the ICS (Climate and Society Institute), the Good Energies Foundation and the JBS Amazon Fund. Its strategic partners are PPA (Platform Partners for the Amazon) and GIZ (German Cooperation Agency), and it also has a wide network of partners such as Move.Social, Sense-Lab, Mercado Livre, ICE, Costa Brasil, Climate Ventures and private investors. 

Discover the 12 businesses that participated in the pre-acceleration process

Read an interview with Antonio Ribeiro and Lucas Harada about the Model C