County To Help Fund Brazilian Business Incubator
By Claudio Mendonca
The Miami-Dade County Commission voted Tuesday to help fund a 10,000-square-foot Brazilian government business incubator at Miami Free Zone in a battle with Atlanta to lure the prize.
The county and the state would provide $12,500 each to offset relocation and costs for Brazil’s exporting agency, Agencia de Promoçao de Exportaçoes do Brasil. Atlanta is offering reduced rents at $6.50 per square foot to attract the agency.
"We are moving toward bringing more business to Miami," said Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz, who sponsored the resolution. "Atlanta is circumventing the project, and they have incentives. We have to be very competitive to attract businesses."
Mr. Diaz said the goal is to bring 300 businesses from Brazil during the next three years. The idea is to have Miami become a one-stop shop for companies from all around the world.
"Trade generates money, and business equates into jobs in our community," Mr. Diaz said. "This resolution is extremely important. It could be the start of even better things to come."
Commissioner Diaz said he also wants to attract trade organizations from Italy, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Because Brazil has half of Latin America’s Fortune 500 companies, said Manny Gonzalez of Miami-Dade County’s International Trade Consortium, the incubator deal could trigger business with other South American countries.
A response from the Brazilian government is expected in 30 to 45 days. Mr. Diaz said the free zone is offering competitive rental rates. If the deal is accepted, the trade zone would sign the contract with Brazil.
Paulo Rocha, director of the Brazilian chamber of commerce in Miami, said he was not familiar with the proposal but that his organization is ready to assist Brazilian companies at the free zone with legal and consulting services.
"The Brazilian chamber recommends serious personnel for certain types of services," Mr. Rocha said. "If companies, for example, want to know more about representation or distribution contracts, we can provide seminars or workshops in Portuguese."
The Brazilian consulate in Miami is aware of the incubator project, a spokesman said, but was not contacted or informed officially.