Brazil Business Basics

International expansion for any business small or large is a huge and costly undertaking on many levels.

In March 2010, the U.S. Commercial Services Department sponsored an outbound mission to Brazil for U.S. companies looking to explore opportunities resulting from that country’s award of both the 2014 FIFA and 2016 Summer Olympic Games. My extensive marketing and sales background within the architectural, engineering and construction environment here in the U.S. equipped me with the knowledge of what infrastructure opportunities were arising as Brazil prepared for the Games.

The following is a brief overview of the lessons learned during my subsequent three-year experience in developing international relationships and creating an economic bridge between the U.S. and Brazil.

My first trip, with the U.S. Commercial Services, took me to São Paulo where we learned the World Cup opportunities and then to Rio de Janeiro where we learned about Olympics opportunities.

Prior to my departure I had heard a lot of stories about Brazil and the dangers associated with crime within the favelas [slums]. In fact, when we arrived in São Paulo we were told not  to leave the hotel and not to wander around by ourselves or even as a small group. That did not leave me with a very good impression for doing business in Brazil.

Luckily, I had a very good Brazilian friend who traveled with me  (otherwise I don’t believe that my husband would have let me go)  and knew the country. She eased my concerns and ultimately I was able to enjoy.

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Intro to India

If you have decided to grow your business beyond U.S. borders, you have likely opened a map of the world to find a market with the greatest potential. China is likely the first market to draw your eye because of its size and sheer impact on global industries. But in fact, the best country for growth beyond the U.S. is India.

Why India instead of the more popular trading partners such as Mexico and China? To start, India is the world’s fastest-growing large economy. That’s right — India is growing faster than China, Mexico and all of Europe.

What drives this growth? Within 15 years, the Indian workforce will be larger than its Chinese counterpart…and stay younger with the world’s largest working-age population between 16 and 64 years old. This also amounts to a middle class that projected to be the largest in the world!

With that information supporting India as the prime location for international business growth, your next question is probably how to start doing business there. Of course, the answer to that is to find a great partner in India — someone to work closely with on the development of your business and someone you can trust with the reputation of your company.

To find the right partner, you will need help. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Commerce offers some outstanding programs as a great resource. The first step is to contact your local District Export Council (DEC) at

Here you will connect with a group of business leaders appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce with the goal of stimulating global trade with local business. Members of this organization work in various private sectors of business, large and small.

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