Post-Olympic Hangover? Not for swissnex Brazil!

Two weeks ago, Rio de Janeiro closed the Paralympic Games with a beautiful and festive ceremony, setting a worthy final to six weeks of celebration of sports. During the months of August and September, the eyes of the world eagerly watched Rio, almost as if waiting for something major to go wrong. After a preparatory phase marked by negative media coverage, talk of cancellation and boycott, the international audience made no secret of its mistrust and reservations about Brazil’s ability to pull off such a mega-event without any major hiccups. As it turns out, Brazil, once again, proved to the world what most of its nationals intuitively knew: no final, vai dar tudo certo – in the end, it will all work out! Apart from to-be-expected petty crimes and competition-related mini-scandals, Rio de Janeiro withstood the test few believed it would pass. The 11’303 athletes and 4’342 parathletes, their support teams and the world’s sports fans returned home with a lasting impression of Brazil’s hospitality, beauty, and friendliness.

For the official Swiss presence in Brazil, two-and-a-half years of Landeskommunikation, or country communication, came to a conclusion with the end of the Paralympic Games. The House of Switzerland Brazil 2016 at the Lagoa de Freitas provided a worthy finale to a diverse and lively campaign. One of the few venues with free, public access, the generous, open-layout structure housed the many facets of modern Switzerland, portrayed playfully in several interactive installations. swissnex, serving its mission in science and innovation, was responsible for a good part of the conference program throughout the six weeks. Bringing together opinion leaders and innovators from Brazil and Switzerland, we discussed issues of global importance and were able to use the unique temporary structure of the House to open new doors for Swiss-Brazilian collaboration.

Post-Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is struggling to get back to a much-needed routine. Earlier this month, municipal elections started across the country, delaying once again mid- to long-term planning as cities hold their breath in expectation of political continuation or change. By now, Brazilians seem used to putting plans and decisions on ice as they have to wait for “unusual circumstances”, such as mega-events, Carnival, the impeachment or elections, to pass.

swissnex Brazil, in turn, has embarked on a new phase, post-Landeskommunikation. While the past two-plus years offered a unique wave of unparalleled Swiss presence thanks to the collaboration of all official representations under the helm of Presence Switzerland, it is now time to follow-up on doors opened and implement a sustainable, long-term strategy. In the months to come, we will further deepen the relationships made, ensuring that the momentum of the Landeskommunikation holds up through a committed, continuous presence and concrete Swiss-Brazilian projects. The Academia-Industry Training, which took place last week in Rio de Janeiro, is one example. Others include the successful transition of the Urban Farmers box from the House of Switzerland’s compound to its new owner, a brand-new social innovation hub (stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!). Following up on the test flight of the Atlantik Solar drone in late 2015, swissnex will also further strengthen its presence in the Amazon region by hosting a workshop on science-to-market and continuing Swiss-Brazilian cooperation projects in remote sensing and agriculture next month. But first, we’re very excited to inaugurate our brand new office space in São Paulo on October 20th!

All in all, it seems like the months ahead will be no less exciting as swissnex, along with many Brazilians, settles into a productive and sustainable routine post-mega events. For this, we look forward to working with existing and new partners!

…and make sure to come visit us in our new São Paulo office!

Rio de Janeiro, 10 October 2016

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   Gioia Deucher, CEO swissnex Brazil