Partnership between Brazil and Canada encourages new businesses

Desire2Learn and Weatherhaven are betting in the country.

By Cristiana Moretzsohn

The agreements signed during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Brazil confirmed an alliance between the two countries which is being seen by both sides, as a great opportunity for new business. They signed agreements dealing with air transport, social security, international assistance to third countries and science and technology.

Among Canadian companies planning to expand into Brazil is Desire2Learn, a company located in Kitchener, Ontario, a leader in educational technology for 11 years. The carioca Alex Lucena, responsible for the area of Business Development in Latin America said that Brazil offers a great opportunity in today’s market and D2L plans to grab, very soon, a large market share of the Brazilian universities’ market with the educational platforms of D2L. Currently, PUC in Rio de Janeiro already uses all the Canadian technology, and, according to Lucena, “all the major private universities are in steady dating with Desire2Learn.” The company just opened an office in São Paulo.

In September, Lucena led Canada’s Technology Triangle Business Mission to visit Brazil, for visits and meetings in the cities of Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Curitiba. The Mission is comprised of technology companies (located in the Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge triangle), businesspeople, academics and government leaders. The objective were to focus on the science and technology sector, exchange experience and knowledge, promote Canadian products and services and identify investment opportunities in Brazil. The Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce (CCBC) and the Canada Technology Triangle (CTT) are already discussing the possibility of creating a centre for technology investment in Brazil by copying the Canadian model.

Another Canadian company, Weatherhaven, applauds the new bilateral agreement and said it plans to expand its business in Brazil. Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Weatherhaven is a leading provider of cutting edge mountable and collapsible shelters in the world with sustainable technologies and support to the environment for the sectors of civil construction, mining, marine, military and several other industries, and expects to grow 50% in Brazil over the next three years.

“Being a Canadian company with significant business interests in the Brazilian market, we cherish our government’s efforts to broaden and deepen our economic relationship with Brazil, the seventh largest world economy,” said Ray Castelli, CEO of Weatherhaven.

The executive cites some examples of business opportunities: “In the areas of peacekeeping and disaster relief, one of the core businesses of Weatherhaven, Canada has improved technology and significant solutions that may help the Brazilian government, as Canada is expected to increase its potential both within Brazil and around the world. For example, last year, Weatherhaven Brazil provided temporary camps for Brazil’s peace efforts, following the earthquake in Haiti, “says the executive.