The largest cities tend to dominate the rankings for the best places to have a business in Brazil, but when it comes to startups, lesser-known cities step into the limelight. This is the case of Fortaleza in the state of Ceará in Northeast Brazil, a rising star when it comes to new enterprises.
The Brazilian Association for Startups (ABStartups) recently compiled a map of the best places to set up new business in Brazil . Putting the country’s largest cities aside – Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Florianópolis – the Association took a look elsewhere and ranked Fortaleza amongst the top spots.
With 188 startups, Fortaleza features as the fifth best city for startup business in Brazil. The Ceará capital has been nicknamed “Brown Sugar Valley” by ABStartups, an allusion to one of the state’s most famous products and the high number of startups.
The city was highlighted as having a high concentration of startups, and offering a “vibrant atmosphere”. The Association also highlights the “intense economic activity” in the city.
Fortaleza has several focal points for startups with incubators across the city. Health and wellbeing businesses are the most common and represent nearly 6% of the total.
Ceará startup in Nasdaq
Proof of the buoyancy of startups in Ceará came in September when a local company floated on Nasdaq, the American share index for new companies. Arco Educaçao, founded in 2017 and focused on the education sector, arrived on Nasdaq on 25 September. It quickly raised US$194.5 million in funds, around 23% of the business.
Foreign direct investment in Ceará
Ceará also stands out in terms of foreign direct investment in Brazil. A recent survey by Ceará Global found that a total of 3,932 companies from 106 countries have set up in Ceará. The bulk of the new business is in the capital, although 100 municipalities across the state have also seen investment by foreigners.
The countries with the largest investment in Ceará are South Korea and Germany. Foreign direct investment totalled US$4.44 billion at the end of 2017 (latest figures available). Last year saw a surge in new foreign direct investment with 37.2% more companies than in 2016, indicating the rise in the popularity of Ceará for doing business in Brazil.
New focal point for business in Brazil
Ceará regularly features among the top economic performers in the country with highest GDP growth than the national average so far this year. The rise in foreign direct investment along with the surge of startups would suggest that Fortaleza and Ceará are shining bright on the radar for business in Brazil.
(Sources: Exame, Isto e Dinheiro)