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AMAZ Call 2024 continues with registrations open until April 12

Photo: Rodrigo Duarte/AMAZ

Accelerator seeks businesses that generate positive impact for the Amazon for acceleration journey and investment of up to R$ 400 thousand

Businesses that generate a positive impact on the Amazon, contributing to keeping the forest standing and at the same time generating income for the region's populations, are on the company's radar. AMAZ impact accelerator

Registration for the 2024 Business Call is open until 12/04 with the aim of finding startups and innovative businesses to be accelerated and receive investment of up to R$ 400 thousand.

Interested parties can register and find out the full rules of the initiative on the page amaz.org.br/chamada2024.

AMAZ seeks businesses that generate a positive impact in the rural and forestry regions of the Amazon, have a product or service already tested on the market and operate or plan to operate in the region.

Startups and companies that are developing impact businesses aimed at forest conservation, biodiversity conservation and socio-environmental development in the Amazon can register.

Initiatives that are already developing activities in a practical and operational way will be considered: prototype developed, in the market test phase; tested product, in the market launch phase; or product launched, in the fundraising or expansion phase.

Sustainable businesses are expected in the following sectors: agriculture, livestock and sustainable rural production; sustainable forest management and production; socio-biodiversity products; reforestation and agroforestry production; sustainable and community-based tourism; food, cosmetics; crafts and sustainable fashion, logistics, communication and financial services; technologic solutions; marketing and market access platforms; education and entrepreneurship with socio-environmental impact; mitigation and adaptation to climate change; carbon and other socio-environmental products and services; treatment of solid waste/pollutants and improving access to water for rural and riverside communities.

In other words, businesses that generate solutions to the main social and environmental problems in the Amazon, seeking to conserve or recover forest areas, value knowledge and biodiversity, generate income and quality of life for rural and riverside communities.

Among the benefits offered by AMAZ are:

  • Impact thesis development and business modeling
  • Workshops and facilitation workshops on topics such as management and impact assessment, market strategies, marketing and communication, logistics, etc.
  • Mentoring and monitoring program 
  • Legal and accounting advice specialized in impact businesses
  • Communication consultancy 
  • Knowledge and management support with follow-up
  • Scholarship and Small Support Program
  • Access to AMAZ's network of investors and partners

“Our expectation for the Call in 2024 is not only to be able to evaluate businesses and learn about interesting businesses that have the purpose of impacting the Amazon, but also to support and facilitate the path to a possible future investment for all businesses. And this involves both the acquisition of knowledge and maturity regarding what is the minimum necessary to carry out this fundraising and even a more advanced business modeling, which includes impact as an important asset”, analyzes Rafael Moreira Ribeiro, responsible for the selection and acceleration of AMAZ.

THE AMAZ impact accelerator 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, Instituto humanize, ICS (Instituto Clima e Sociedade), Good Energies Foundation, Fundo JBS pela Amazônia and PPA (Plataforma Parceiros pela Amazônia). It also has a wide network of partners such as Move.Social, Sense-Lab, Mercado Livre, ICE, SBSA Advogados, Climate Ventures and private investors.

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Mahta is selected for Scale Up by Endeavor

Photo: Daniel Pinheiro/Disclosure Mahta

Endeavour's Scale Up program, which drives companies through a personalized acceleration journey, in direct connection with a network made up of major entrepreneurship references in Brazil, selected Mahta, a company in the AMAZ portfolio, for the first cycle semester of 2024. The program is the gateway to becoming an Endeavor network entrepreneur. 

“Almost all of the best startups in Brazil were part of Endeavour's Scale Up program. Then, in the future – you need to grow a lot for this – companies go through a filter, which is global, and only around 10 or 15 in the world, usually two or three from Brazil, effectively become Endeavor entrepreneurs. Brazil today has ten unicorns, and nine are from Endeavour. In this Scale Up cycle, Mahta is the only consumer products company. As the main criteria for evaluating and approving the program are results, growth and, especially, growth potential, most startups are made up of fintechs, puretechs (pure technology) or B2B, the focus of much of the investment. We were an exception, which for us is a double honor,” analyzes Max Petrucci, founding partner of Mahta.

Petrucci, who has even been a mentor at Endeavor for a decade, highlights the importance of this moment for Mahta: “Being part of this process is very important for us, especially because of the endorsement. Being selected among the best 40 startups in Brazil is incredible. And we are proud to be at Endeavor and to be part of AMAZ. A bridge that we can even help build, because today these two universes are far apart. The reality of the Endeavor entrepreneur is very different from the reality of the AMAZ entrepreneur, and vice versa. Both initiatives are very good, and I hope we can generate closer ties between these two worlds”, he adds. 

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AMAZ holds first workshop of the 2024 acceleration cycle

Photo: Andrea Azevedo/AMAZ

The first workshop of the AMAZ 2024 acceleration cycle took place from 21 to 23/03 and brought together, in Manaus, the businesses selected by last year's Call: MOMA and Zeno Nativo.

The program covered indicator management and impact modeling, including the financial aspect. In addition to the AMAZ team, the entrepreneurs were attended by Sara Sampaio, Executive Director of Café Apuí Agroflorestal, who shared the management of business indicators and the decision-making process.

Visits to other businesses based in Manaus – Na'kau, which is part of the AMAZ portfolio, and Warabu -, and also to Bemol Distribution Centers completed the activities.

“This first workshop of the 2024 acceleration cycle aimed to work with the notion of how data can be transformed into important information for business decision-making. We brought theoretical aspects, as well as construction and refinement of business financial indicators, work that will be continued over the next few weeks”, highlights Rafael Moreira, responsible for the selection and acceleration of AMAZ.

Rafael also highlights the importance of connections with other businesses operating in the Amazon, with the possibility, for accelerating entrepreneurs, of realizing different levels of knowledge organization, and approaching possible commercial points for both businesses.

For Vivian Chun, from MOMA, the highlight of the workshop was the demonstration of robust impact reporting benchmarks: “This was inspiring, as was the visit to the Bemol Distribution Center, which is quite impressive and gives a dimension of grandeur. when dealing with so many brands.” MOMA is in the process of expanding its B2B strategy, and contact with commercial spaces with the potential to sell products was an important point of this first face-to-face meeting conducted by the AMAZ team.

“Acceleration provides extremely valuable networking. And it contributes to my entrepreneurial journey, bringing a lot of reflection and encouragement for MOMA to grow. Each acceleration that we participate in is a different process, because we are always at different phases of the business and maturity. So this process with AMAZ brings some pulses, guiding questions to reflect on whether what we are doing will have results and when, whether we are certain of our purpose, anyway. Provocations for us to improve more and more.”

Zeno Gemaque, from Zeno Nativo, highlights the lessons learned from the examples: “The work of Café Apuí Agroflorestal really caught my attention. I saw that it's not just us who have difficulties, they also face many challenges similar to ours. And that gives us hope, because we saw a project similar to ours that is working. The work with financial modeling was also extremely important. I also leave with many doubts and questions, but I know that we will address them in the next online connections with the AMAZ team. All of this contributes greatly to our growth. We learned a lot that we will apply here at Zeno Nativo.”

Coi Belluzzo, also from Zeno Nativo, echoes the importance of the connection with Café Apuí Agroflorestal and other businesses: “The visits we made to the entrepreneurs at Na'kau and Warabu, both involved in Amazonian cocoa, were very important for us . These visits will certainly bear fruit for us. It was a very intense week of work, with a lot of information to digest and apply to the business.”

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Vivalá participates in the EmbraturLAB Acceleration Program 

Photo: Vivalá Disclosure

Vivalá, a business that is part of the AMAZ portfolio, is one of the startups participating in the EmbraturLAB Acceleration Program, which promotes the competitiveness of the tourism sector in order to improve the experience of foreigners visiting Brazil.

The program is a partnership between EmbraturLAB and Turistech Hub Brasil, one of the main innovation hubs in Latin America. The Hub was created to lead the tourism innovation agenda and foster the sector's competitiveness and environmental sustainability. EmbraturLAB has a partnership between Embratur, universities, researchers and entrepreneurs who are promoting innovation actions in tourism.

In the last phase of the process, scheduled to end in April, three startups (iFriend, Vivalá and Destinos Inteligentes) carry out practical tests based on the tourist solutions developed. Vivalá translated the website and its main materials into English and Spanish, increasing the number of people who can be reached by sustainable itineraries, and is developing technological solutions to attract foreign audiences to live sustainable tourism experiences in Brazil .

For the EmbraturLAB proof of concept, Vivalá developed a itinerary with a one-day adventure experience, all focused on sustainability in Rio de Janeiro, focusing on biodiversity, available for the 2024 calendar. 

“We have dedicated efforts, resources and time to developing extensive promotional material in Portuguese, English and Spanish, in addition to developing an affiliate platform so that we can have enough technology to sell Brazil with partners around the world in real time . This will be an important leap in the commercial expansion of ecotourism, adventure and community-based tourism with foreigners”, highlights the co-founder and executive director of Vivalá, Daniel Cabrera.

And the first results of the proof of concept are beginning to emerge from the Amazon more quickly: “The Amazon is the biome that welcomed the most foreigners into our portfolio. Today we have experiences of ecotourism, community-based tourism and adventure, with indigenous, riverside and quilombola communities, in the states of Acre, Amazonas, Pará and Tocantins. And soon, we will reach the fifth state, Roraima, with experiences in one of the largest mountains in Brazil: Mount Roraima”, adds Cabrera.

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AMAZ team meets to plan future

In February, the AMAZ team met in Iranduba, Amazonas, immersed in planning, with support from Move Social.

Already in its fourth Business Call and at a time of portfolio review, the accelerator is preparing for a new phase. Strategic planning began in 2023, culminating in a three-day immersion in February and continues with the modeling and review of the Theory of Change.

Established in 2021 in an innovative and pioneering way, based on a hybrid financing fund blended finance) of R$ 25 million for investment in impact businesses over five years, the first focused exclusively on the region, AMAZ's ambition is to further expand its operations in the Amazon region, going beyond business acceleration and increasing the delivery of positive impact .

With new team members, changes in portfolio management and improvement in business selection, as a result of the experience of years of operation, AMAZ has been reflecting and generating changes in its operations, carefully outlined in planning.

“AMAZ’s role is to support entrepreneurs with capital, knowledge, connections and everything else necessary to boost their growth. We are now planning for a new phase, contributing even more to supporting entrepreneurs with capital, knowledge and connections and to fostering and creating in practice an ecosystem of impact and innovation in the Amazon”, says Mariano Cenamo, CEO of AMAZ.

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Manawara opens franchise in São Paulo

Photo: Manawara publicity

After opening its first franchise in January, in Manaus, Manawara opened its second unit in São Paulo.

The new unit is located in Shopping Parque da Cidade, in Chácara Santo Antônio, south of São Paulo. This is the second franchise in a series scheduled to open in 2024.

Two more units should be opened in São Paulo this semester. Two units are also planned for the year in Rio de Janeiro and one in Belo Horizonte. And Manawara is still in the final phase of negotiating four other units.

The move comes after the opening of a point of sale in São Paulo, in May last year, which also functioned as a business showroom to attract future franchisees.

Mércio Sena, CEO of the company, highlights that Manawara should deliver 10 franchised units this year, with the firm intention of expanding access to Amazonian flavors. Our franchise model offers more than 20 products, including fruit candies of different flavors, nuts and cookies. Foods such as açaí, guaraná, taperebá and cupuaçu are present in jujubes and other vegan products, free of gluten and lactose. And we plan to close the year 2024 with 15 new products.

The company has invested in product and packaging development over the past few years. The effort has been rewarded with important recognition. Manawara has already participated in the biggest food and beverage fairs in the world and Europe – Anuga and Sial. Through Sial, it won the Innovation Seal in 2020. And it was also awarded by the Brazil Design Awards for the packaging developed for fruit candies, also in 2020.

In its production chain, Manawara seeks to value producers from the Amazon region. The guaraná used comes from Maués, the nuts come from Assoab (Association of Farmers of Beruri), which operates in Resex Mamirauá. The starch in the cookies comes from Iranduba, the honey from Boa Vista do Ramos, the coconut flour from producers in Acre.

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Mariano Cenamo is Ashoka's new social entrepreneur

In February, the director of new business at Idesam and founder of AMAZ, Mariano Cenamo, joined the team of social entrepreneurs at Ashoka, the largest global network of social entrepreneurs.

Over 20 years in the Amazon, Cenamo has acted as a driver of a new economy, contributing to the construction of an impactful business ecosystem and reimagining the financing of this construction.

“Cenamo’s creativity and experiences inform and energize Ashoka’s vast network of 1,800 social entrepreneurs who are working for systemic change in the environmental area. We believe that each person and organization that joins our community strengthens the trust and impact of others,” says Andrea Margit, vice president of Ashoka in Latin America.

In 10 years, Mariano foresees the emergence of a significant number of locally developed businesses in the Amazon, creating a center of innovation in the region that will attract international attention from investors and open up new entrepreneurial opportunities in the forest.

Idesam's goal is to invest at least R$ 100 million in the Amazon bioeconomy over the next few years. This will require at least 100 market agents, including client companies and partners; support or development of 90 sustainable value chains; and support for more than 220 businesses, social organizations and solutions.

For Cenamo, the construction of an Amazonian bioeconomy will only be achieved with collaboration between various actors, based on the formation of networks of people, organizations, entrepreneurs, investors and financiers who have complementary capabilities and skills. “In the Ashoka community, I hope to exchange experiences and build collaborations with other social entrepreneurs. Let’s liven up this dream together,” he says.

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Manawara, an AMAZ portfolio company, opens a franchise in Manaus

Shopping Manauara receives the company's first franchise, which plans to open another three in the first half of the year

Photo: Manawara Disclosure

Manaus – Manawara, a company that integrates the impact accelerator AMAZ portfolio, opened its first franchise last weekend (20 and 21/01). Located at Shopping Manauara, in Adrianópolis, central-south area of Manaus, this will be the first of several that should be delivered this year.

The company, located in Iranduba, Amazonas, arose from a passion for gummy bears and the Amazon. It offers 22 product options, including fruit candies of different flavors, nuts and cookies. Foods such as açaí, guaraná, taperebá and cupuaçu are present in jujubes and other vegan products, free of gluten and lactose. And it plans to close the year 2024 with 15 new products. 

In its production chain, Manawara seeks to value producers from the Amazon region. The guaraná used comes from Maués, the nuts come from Assoab (Association of Farmers of Beruri), which operates in Resex Mamirauá. The starch in the cookies comes from Iranduba, the honey from Boa Vista do Ramos, the coconut flour from producers in Acre.

“For us, who are located in Amazonas, it is very significant to have a franchise here, in Manaus. Being able to take our partners – like Mr. José Tomaz, from a riverside community in Iranduba, who is our jambu supplier – to visit our point of sale, show, in concrete terms, how the raw materials they provide us are used and where the products are sold, there is no price”, defines Mércio Sena, CEO of Manawara.

The CEO of AMAZ accelerator and director of new business at Idesam, Mariano Cenamo, highlights: “It is a great pleasure to see the opening of Manawara's first unit in Manaus, at Shopping Manauara. It is a company that we believe has enormous potential to bring the face of the Amazon to Brazil and the world, but it is super important to present first-hand the products that come from Amazonian biodiversity to be valued by the Amazonians themselves. This is the first of several franchises that will be opened in Brazil during 2024.”

The company's products were already found in some points of sale in Manaus, but now they are sold at their own point, where it is possible to have access to the wide range of products offered. 

Growth

According to Mércio, in the first half of the year, three new franchises should be opened in the city of São Paulo. Two units are also planned for this year in Rio de Janeiro and one in Belo Horizonte. And Manawara is already in the final stages of negotiating four other franchised units. 

“Our intention is to promote immersion in the world of colors and flavors of the Amazon. May everyone have the possibility of imagining their Amazon through the products we offer. Inside each candy, in each box, there is a lot of care for nature and the people who live in the forest”, highlights the CEO of Manawara.

According to him, the point of sale opened in São Paulo in May last year, which also works as show room to attract future franchisees, it has increased its sales by around 10% since the beginning of its operation.

The company has invested in product and packaging development over the last few years.

The effort has been awarded with important recognitions. The company has participated in the largest food and beverage fairs in the world and Europe – Anuga and Sial. For Sial, it won the Seal of Innovation in 2020. And it was also awarded by the Brazil Design Awards with the packaging developed for fruit candies, also in 2020.

Manawara is in negotiations to enter the North American market. Its products have also aroused interest in the Chinese market: JD, an e-commerce giant, the Chinese Department of Commerce and a supermarket chain in Beijing with foreign clientele have shown interest in opening negotiations.

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Tucum signs contract with the city of Rio to occupy a mansion in the historic center

Photo: Tucum Disclosure

Casa Tucum already has an address to call its own: Rua do Rosário nº 30. 

The company signed a contract with the City of Rio de Janeiro to occupy a mansion in the historic center of the city. And it is expected to start operating this quarter.

Casa represents Tucum's physical return to the capital of Rio de Janeiro, where the business managed its own store between 2013 and 2019.

To make the space viable, Tucum participated in a selection process of the Rio de Janeiro City Hall's Reviver Centro Cultural Incentive Program, which selected projects to occupy 27 empty stores in the city center, in the quadrangle formed by Avenidas Presidente Vargas, Rio Branco and First of March; along Rua da Assembleia and along a stretch of Orla Conde.

The signing ceremony took place on January 30th, in the city center of Rio de Janeiro, and was attended by Mayor Eduardo Paes and other representatives from the city hall and the companies selected to sign the Program's first contracts. 

“Casa Tucum will be a space for people to get closer to the reality and culture of our partners”, highlights Amanda Santana. “It will be a space to reaffirm the arts and indigenous peoples of Brazil.”

The purpose of the space is to sell indigenous art and crafts, but also to be a gallery for exhibiting resident artists and those from the collection, a film club and offering other cultural programs.

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Academia Amazônia Ensina organizes expedition with Harvard University

Photo: ACAE Disclosure

In August, students from Harvard University will be in the Amazon in an immersion organized by Academia Amazônia Ensina (ACAE). 

THE Harvard Amazon Rainforest Immersion is an extracurricular field program that involves students, teachers and researchers from Harvard and the Amazon. The program's content revolves around local themes linked to climate and sustainable development. 

The immersion will bring an intensive and interdisciplinary introduction to the ecosystems, societies and economies of the Amazon, exploring the complexities and local challenges of sustainable development.

Participants will have contact with fundamental scientific concepts to understand the functioning of the forest ecosystem and its importance for the planet; interconnections between deforestation, illegal extractive activities, loss of biodiversity, health, human capital and inequalities; local cultures; climate policy; local research, innovations and success stories. 

Lectures, debates, visits to different places, interactions with experts, traditional communities and other students will be part of the 12 days of immersion. Participants must develop a report with learnings and ideas for projects related to the Amazon. 

In addition to Harvard students, students or researchers residing in Amazon countries will also participate in the expedition.

“We were approached by Harvard, based on a recommendation from Idesam, and we were very happy, because there is a lot of synergy between what Academia Amazônia Ensina promotes and their expectations. We will pass through Manaus, the Uatumã Reserve and Presidente Figueiredo. We are very excited and in the preparatory process for the immersion”, analyzes Maria Eugenia Rocha Tezza, executive director of ACAE.

The Harvard Immersion in the Amazon Rainforest is offered by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Brazil Office and the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability, in collaboration with Academia Amazônia Ensina, Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (UEA) and Idesam. 

“We are sure that the sustainable production experiences offered by Idesam together with Amazon communities for the Harvard group and Academia Amazônia Ensina will allow for a different reflection on how to think about development for the Amazon. The union of these entities – a renowned research institute like Harvard, ACAE with its education in the field, reflective and instigating solutions, and the techniques developed at Idesam, in the field, together with community experience – is a very promising to see new solutions for sustainable and inclusive development in the Amazon forest”, analyzes Carlos Koury, director of innovation in bioeconomy at Idesam.

ACAE promotes four expeditions in 2024

With one expedition underway until the beginning of February, ACAE will promote three more expeditions throughout 2024, including the immersion with Harvard.

In the first expedition of the year, 23 people with very varied profiles are on board, including students and executives from institutions such as Amazon, Basf and Sebrae Nacional.

“These are people who think outside the box, or who try to think outside the box. We also have journalists, designers, administrators, engineers, audiovisual professionals and technology specialists on this expedition”, says Maria Eugênia. 

Among the year's expeditions, in May ACAE promotes an immersion with the Saint Paul Escola de Negócios de São Paulo, aimed at discovering the Amazon with an ESG perspective, and in June repeats partnership with Aberje (Brazilian Business Communication Association) in a new expedition. 

“We are very happy with the path ACAE has taken. We realize the importance of being in these different environments for dialogue to take place. I feel that Academia Amazônia Ensina is doing its role, which has always been proposed, which is to prepare people for the economic, social and ecological challenges of the 21st century. And we are very excited about this opening, especially with the B2B and corporate public, for understand the Amazon in this contextualized way”, he highlights.