1808 and the setting of startups in Brazil

In the evening of November 29th, 1807, the Portuguese royal family departs from the port of Lisbon to Brazil. The still Prince Regent Dom Joao VI, under the protection of the British Royal Navy, hastily abandons his country, thus allowing French troops to invade Portugal without finding any resistance.

The journey to the Brazilian coast took almost three months, and on January 22nd, 1808, the Portuguese court finally docked on the "Baia de Todos os Santos". At that moment, one of the most important historical facts happens, completely changing the commercial history of our country; D. Joao VI signs the Decree opening the ports to friendly nations, directly authorizing commerce in Brazil with nations considered friends of Portugal.

To understand the historical dimension of this fact, one needs to understand that since the arrival of the Portuguese to our country, in 1500, several types of business were prohibited to Brazilians, and all our exports had to be done mandatorily through Portugal customs, i.e., Brazil was closed to the international scene.

If we analize the development of the country, since the official arrival of the Portuguese until 1808, we will easily realize the disastrous results of tis policy, which undermined free initiative and the development of base entrepreneurship in our country, not to mention the issues generated by the lack of cultural exchange with other nations.

With the opening of ports, a new phase began in Brazil; laws of incentive to commerce were created, and there were different branches of activity, previously forbidden. After a year of opening ports, over a hundred British companies connected to international business settled here, generating information exchange and accelerating the process of development and innovation.

Of course the formation of Brazilian people is extremely complex, but the idea, on this first article of a series, is to show those investing in innovation in Brazil a little of our origin, our history, with two main objectives:

  • Show to the Brazilian entrepreneurs who are studying books such as The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and others that the American reality, as well as the reality of several liberal countries, is much different from ours, which has always leaned more toward the patriarchal.
  • Making the importance of international exchange clear, both for innovation as well as personal and corporative development.

I'm not meaning we should abolish all these new startups launching methodologies, but that is really important to become aware of the natural obstacles that needs to be overcome and really understands the entrepreneurial mindset and innovation ecosystem we have today.

Undoubtedly the main challenge for the Brazilian entrepreneurs in the coming years is globalization. So it's necessary stop to complaining of our internal policy, the dollar, the crisis and economy and start to visit new markets that offer more benefits, lose our fear of the unknown and finally, discovering new possibilities anywhere in the world.