The initiative was part of Fundo Vale’s “Cubo Itaú Impact Journey” program in partnership with entrepreneurship hub Cubo Itaú, which promotes a series of activations and business connections on the theme of positive social and environmental impact.

On February 5, the Amazon Conservation and Sustainable Development Institute (IDESAM) and Fundo Vale held an event at Cubo Itaú, an entrepreneurship hub in São Paulo, called “Impact Businesses and Investments in a New Bioeconomy in the Amazon.” The aim was to position the Amazon region as an attractive prospect for investors interested in businesses of this kind. The audience, made up of representatives of startups and civil society organizations, learned about IDESAM’s objectives, partners and achievements. The organization’s director for bioeconomy innovation, Carlos Gabriel Koury, then gave a presentation about the Priority Bioeconomy Program. The meeting was also attended by Paulo Alexandre Simonetti, IDESAM’s bioeconomy innovation manager. The discussions were moderated by Fundo Vale’s social and environmental innovation leader, Giovana Serenato.

The Priority Bioeconomy Program was created by the Manaus Free Trade Zone Agency and it is coordinated by IDESAM. Its purpose is to attract investment in research and development (which firms are required to make in exchange for tax breaks in the Manaus region) and boost the development of new products, services and ventures in the Amazon bioeconomy. So far, R$130 million has been invested as part of this program, 26 projects have been completed and another 34 projects are under way. There are currently more than 300 business opportunities available as part of this initiative. 

“The event exceeded our expectations. The audience was packed, and we even had to fetch some extra chairs to accommodate everyone. We can see that the Amazon agenda is becoming increasingly significant. Many companies want to be there but still don’t know how. Our role at Cubo Itaú is exactly that: to connect startups, corporations, investment funds and partners to business opportunities that are profitable, have a social impact and contribute to the conservation of the forest,” says Fundo Vale innovation consultant Rodrigo Araújo.

To demonstrate the positive impacts of investment in the bioeconomy through the Priority Bioeconomy Program, Josilene Monteiro Jeffres, a biologist and specialist in environmental analysis, auditing and management, shared the case study of OKA Biotecnologia, which she coordinates. Operating in the Amazon region, OKA uses strategies and solutions inspired by nature to manufacture compostable packaging made from cassava starch, with or without the addition of natural fibers.

The event was also attended by representatives of the National Strategy for Impact Investment and Business (ENIMPACTO), who presented their work in coordinating entities in the federal government, private sector and civil society to promote an environment conducive to the development of impact investments and businesses.

Giovana Gohr Serenato, social and environmental innovation leader, Fundo Vale
Paulo Alexandre Simonetti, bioeconomy innovation manager, IDESAM
Carlos Gabriel Koury, director for bioeconomy innovation, IDESAM
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Jana Silva, community manager of Cubo ESG, part of Cubo Itaú