Black beans, pao de queijo, coffee, and tapioca are some of the food items Brazilians yearn for the most when traveling abroad. Some, however, see in this craving a business opportunity. According to a survey released this month by the Foreign Ministry, micro and small businesses run by Brazilians overseas total some 20 thousand-most of which in the US, home to 9 thousand such enterprises, followed by Japan, with 1.5 thousand, and France, with 1,320.
The so-called Mercado da Saudade ("Market in Exile," in a free English translation) is the sector that centers on trading national goods in Brazilian communities across the globe. In addition to foods, clothing, and other consumption goods, enterprises include services like beauty salons, gyms, and dance and capoeira schools.
"These segments are faring particularly well and have also drawn foreign clientele. We have Japanese people taking samba classes, Americans learning Zumba, foreign capoeira fighters," said Luiza Lopes, director at the Consular Department for Brazilians Abroad. "We've started off in safe markets with Brazilian goods. We have expanded considerably."
The study surveyed micro and small businesses, but many were left out of the statistics. In the US alone, 48.3 thousand Brazilians are estimated to run informal economic activities. "There are many territories to be explored by Brazilians. We see a lot of potential," the diplomat added.
Faced with this market expansion, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry is to introduce a number of initiatives to assist micro and small entrepreneurs overseas. Among the efforts, 16 guidebooks were published in July with advice for business owners in 16 countries.
"We realizing during the mapping process that many Brazilian entrepreneurs have a hard time learning about the legislation on the topic," Lopes said. The guides cover such issues as taxes, labor law, and benefits entrepreneurs are entitled to have in each location."
"Learning about it is a lot of work. Information is often only available in the local language, which many Brazilians are yet to master. We have still a small number of associations, so when Brazilians decide to start a business, they have to do all the work from scratch," she added. In addition to the books, she went on to say, consulates will now also be able to offer advice to business owners, which was not the case in the past.
A total 3.1 million Brazilian nationals are estimated to live outside the country. The guidebooks focus on areas where most Brazilian entrepreneurs are located: the Americas, western Europe, and Asia. Some 30 different guides are expected to be put together, not just on countries, but also on states and regions with specific legislation.
The publications released this month include information about Germany, Belgium, Chile, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the UK, Switzerland, and Suriname, not to mention specific guides for regions in New England and Florida, in the US; and Quebec, in Canada.