Strengthening innovation

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CISB is aware most major technological advances today stem from startups. To offer startups a unique opportunity, it decided to issue a special call for some technology-based Brazilian companies to visit Sweden between 23 and 27 October. This select group was in the same delegation as the group of representatives of universities, research institutes, companies, and government visiting Sweden for the immersion programmes offered by the MEI (Entrepreneurial Mobilization for Innovation), although it participated in parallel activities.

In all, three companies that work with artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, big data and/or data fusion were selected. The result was valuable input for innovation and entrepreneurship in Brazil. "We selected startups from incubators based in three technology hubs (São José dos Campos - SP, São Carlos - SP, and Goiânia - GO), in accordance with the CISB strategy to expand your area of expertise," says Alessandra Holmo, managing director of the organisation. The participants had the chance to learn about the Swedish triple helix system of innovation, strengthen relations with various research institutions, and even discuss technological challenges with major companies through the Swedish programme Ignite, coordinated by the partner SISP (Swedish Incubators and Science Parks).

"We saw how the system actually works. In Sweden, we learned about the infrastructure of academia and business, expanded our network of contacts, and got to know other programmes, such as WASP, the biggest autonomous systems programme in Sweden," says Benedito Maciel, of FT Sistemas, a startup based in San José dos Campos incubated inside the actual ITA (Aeronautics Institute of Technology).  

Maciel says he was most interested in the industrial Ph.D. programme, in which a company proposes a research topic to an educational institution. The company representative then develops a theses with the university students that focuses on market needs.

This link between academia and the business community was also highlighted by Danilo Sulino, of RYD Engenharia, in Goiânia. "In Brazil, there is a huge gap between academic research and the markets," he says. Sulino believes Brazilian policies are "discouraging and create impediments", and mentions the example of patents. "A professor who develops a patent only retains 5% of the rights by the end of the project. The rest is for the university. This discourages both professors and researchers," he says.

In addition to the new setting, Sulino talks about the satisfaction of meeting representatives of leading companies in Stockholm. "It was fantastic. I talked to Saab AB, Komatsu, and ABB. I made lots of contacts and we hope to work on projects together based on this interaction," he adds.

Maciel, of FT systems, stresses the importance of the CISB initiative and the key role startups have in today´s global innovation scenario. "These companies have greater flexibility to work in this area. Large enterprises tend to rely on their own research and development institutes, but usually have a rigid corporate policy, which makes decision making more time-consuming and hampers the process. In contrast, startups can respond to the market more rapidly," he says.

Alessandra states the project allows them to strengthen ties with Swedish universities and corporations. "We hope this leads to a breakthrough in the Brazilian ecosystem of entrepreneurship and in the internationalisation of Brazilian startups," she adds.