Integra Five LATAM Dispatch
June 24, 2022
Here’s how female entrepreneurs are helping farmers feed Latin America
The World Economic Forum reports on how female entrepreneurs are helping feed farmers in Brazil. As the cost-of-living crisis is being felt globally, the state of the post pandemic economy recovery, coupled with climate change impacts and supply chain blockages caused by the war in Ukraine are leading strong reverberations around the world. These entrepreneurs are not only helping feed Latin America but are providing organic farmers with better livelihoods.
Priscilla Veras created Muda Meu Mundo, a Brazilian startup that connects small scale family farmers to big supermarket chains by handling logistics, transportation, and offering credit and technical assistance to help growers boost output. This cuts out the middleman and sends more profits to the farmers, whilst also using less resources whilst increasing crop production.
Papayas, another Brazilian female run startup allows customers at the two largest agro-ecological fairs in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul state to buy produce from organic and small family farms directly, using an app. Farmers now pay less in banking charges and receive payment in a week, but most often same day. This is a massive improvement on the normal wait time of a month. Additionally, the company has built a customer base by partnering with local firms who provide their own staff with in-app food vouchers.
Venezuela a Land of Opportunity for Innovators, Entrepreneurs Amid Technological Setbacks
The Founder Institute (FI), the world’s largest startup accelerator launched in Caracas a year ago, receiving a massive number of applications for its accelerator program. 168 people applied, and nine graduate and eight formalised the launch of their technology company in a hostile and hungry market. E-commerce, marketplaces, edtech and fintech were the most common applications to FI.
Marco Villegas, the director of Arca Análisis Económico and co-director of FI Caracas, talks about the talent found and his gratitude to FI’s presence. Regarding the integration of facilitators in the accelerator programs, he said. “I feel like I’m helping Venezuela a little bit. With all the knowledge they may have and are willing to contribute to the process, and it has been one of the best experiences we have been able to experience. Venezuelans in Google, Meta, Amazon, or in startups that are already here, are supporting the ecosystem.”
FI is currently moving into its third round of courses in in the country and is focused on the strengths of those making proposals as this will allow for greater flexibility to mutate and support the ‘Venezuela Laboratory’, which has the aim of offering solutions.
Venezuela Maintains Stable Oil Output, to Restart Shipments to Europe
Venezuela’s oil production remains steady as exports to Europe resume following the easing of some US restrictions. OPEC placed Caracas’ output in May at 717,000 barrels per day (bpd), as measured by secondary sources, 2,000 bpd less than April. The numbers reported directly by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA stood higher at 735,000 bpd but slightly below the 775,000 bpd from the previous month.
Historically oil sales are Venezuela’s main source of foreign income, but these were blocked by Washington’s sanctions, which were created to cripple the economy and oust Nicolas Maduro. Foreign companies were forced to gradually abandon operations as well as oil agreements with Venezuela following the 2017 financial sanctions against PDVSA, the 2019 oil embargo, subsequent secondary sanctions, and a raft of other measures throughout 2020.
Despite these embargos, Venezuela has improved crude production with assistance from Iran. In September 2021 Tehran and Caracas struck an oil for condensate agreement to dilute PDVSA extra-heavy crude into exportable grades, therefore boosting the industry’s output and exports.
Lula Sets Priorities Should he win the Presidential Election in Brazil
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has stated that protecting the Amazon rainforest, making Brazil self-sufficient in oil and fuel as well and scrapping a rule that limits public spending would be among his priorities if elected for a third term. He said that “We need to seriously rebuild Brazil” and that he will work “again” to end hunger in the country. “Brazil will only achieve sovereignty when the populations are eating and earning a salary.”
His 34-page document detailing the guidelines for his possible government have been summarised by Bloomberg into the most relevant points on the environment, Petrobras and privatizations, fiscal regime, reforms as well as inflation and hunger.
For the environment, he proposes a relentless fight against illegal deforestation and protection of the indigenous lands and people. For Petrobras, he will oppose the current government’s plan to privatize Petroleo Brasileiro SA as well as changing Petrobras’ plans, to attain national self- sufficiency. In terms of the fiscal regime and reforms, Lula wants to rid the spending cap rule. Finally, he wants to fight hunger and inflation by reining in price increases and creating policies to stimulate the production of crucial goods.
Brazil’s Nubank Plots Consolidation in Latin America’s Booming Fintech Sector
Nubank, a Sao Paulo headquartered group has attracted billions of dollars from foreign investors and given millions of poor citizens their first bank account. As its own stock price is plummeting, it is eyeing opportunities during a selloff in the tech sector. As interest rates raise and tighter credit restrict venture capital flows globally there are warning signs that some of the region’s startups may struggle, thus creating attractive targets.
Nubank’s chief executive and founder David Vélez told the Financial Times “This will enable the survival of the fittest.” An IPO in New York last December valued the group above $40 billion, briefly making it the most valuable financial institution on the continent. Founded in 2013, the app-based provider of credit cards, current accounts and loans has nearly 60mn customers today. Unlike some of its digital peers, Nubank started out in credit rather than payments.
Whilst there are predictions that the funding environment is going to suffer due to the current market, Velez is not worried. He said that in the past, US investors had asked him: “You’ve grown very well in the good times, what’s going to happen in the bad times?” “That is the wrong question to ask,” said the entrepreneur. Referring to the country’s frequent battles with inflation and recession, he added: “Brazil has always been bad times.”
- Lula Sets Priorities Should He Win the Presidential Election in Brazil (bloomberglinea.com)
- Brazil’s Nubank plots consolidation in Latin America’s booming fintech sector | Financial Times