São Paulo: a new space to bring Swiss-Brazilian connections to the next level
Being one organization, with two offices to cover a country more than 200 times the size of Switzerland presents many challenges for a small organization like ours. After the first interview with the Head of our São Paulo office, Mayra Castro, in early 2015, we want to see how the situation in São Paulo has evolved since.
What are the big changes that swissnex Brazil in São Paulo has undergone in those past two years?
For us, the biggest change that we had in São Paulo was the opening of our new office. After two years of moving between the General Consulate of Switzerland in São Paulo and an external office, we finally have our own office space. This helps to give our work more weight because part of swissnex’ identity lies in the makeshift of its physical space.
Besides enforcing swissnex’ visual identity, what does the new office space offer?
Having our own space allows us to invite our existing and potential partners for meetings and use the space to develop with them “out of the box” concepts with a focus on innovation and creativity.
Our first tentative in that direction is the creation of our new label talks@swissnex, developed by Lea Strohm, our Junior Project Manager in São Paulo. After the first edition in collaboration with the ICRC, in shortly we will open our new office to participate in the São Paulo Tech Week.
What are those new initiatives?
The idea behind talks@swissnex is to launch a series of talks in a very intimate setting, where the interaction between speakers and the public is not only welcome but at the heart of the concept. Due to the limited space in our office, we can host a maximum of 20 people. This limitation has proven itself to be a big advantage to develop a format of spontaneous and interactive talks.
The São Paulo Tech Week is a festival of technology and innovation that takes place in São Paulo for the second year in a row and we’ll participate with two talks@swissnex, one on academic entrepreneurship and the other on mobility and technology.
Considering the current economic crisis, what are swissnex Brazil’s perspectives in São Paulo? What are the big tendencies in science, education, and innovation in São Paulo?
I believe that in times of crises, either you give up or you start working your way out of the crisis. In São Paulo, despite the economic situation, there are sector and people working really hard. The potential of the innovative sector, for example, the area of Fintech, is growing way faster than the average growth. Initiatives like the “100 startups movement”, developed by Wenovate or the conference Business & Innovation Network (BIN@SP), organized by the Innovation Agency of the University of São Paulo, show how the local actors try to find their own ways out of the crisis.
For us, the big challenge is to figure out how to use the current situation to our advantage, find creative solutions to aggregate value for both countries.
São Paulo, 3 November 2016
Mayra Castro, Head of office in São Paulo