Portland partners with Brazilian firm on cleantech
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The city of Portland will partner with a Brazilian firm to help cleantech companies do business in the growing South American market.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams will sign a memorandum of understanding with a Brazilian consulting firm, agreeing to work with them to develop partnerships between Portland-area cleantech and sustainable businesses and their counterparts in Brazil.
Sustainable Hub, a Sao Paulo consulting firm formed by three former investment bankers, is keen on working with Portland-area companies that can bring sustainability and cleantech innovations to Brazil and in exchange offer consulting services to help companies manage what can be a tricky marketplace.
Antonio Lombardi and Altair Assumpçao two of Sustainable Hub's principals are in town this week, meeting with companies and regional officials to talk about how they can open doors in Brazil.
Adams met with Sustainable Hub when he was in Sao Paulo for the C40 Cities Climate Summit last summer.
Noah Siegel, Adams' international relations director, said the meeting with Sustainable Hub turned out to be the most fruitful of the trip.
"They were just totally plugged in on cleantech," Siegel said.
And it led to a first-of-its kind relationship, memorialized in the memorandum, between two cities.
"We intend to make money," said Assumpçao. "But there's something more. We believe in something that Portland believes in also."
Lombardi and Assumpçao said that sustainable business practices are just reaching a tipping point in Brazil, a rapidly expanding economy that the International Monetary Fund expects will pass France to become the world's fifth largest by 2016.
Formed last year, Sustainable Hub aims to work with middle-market companies that want to get a foothold in Brazil and will look to make connections with Brazilian companies for technology sharing when such relationships make sense. The company's principals also head up New Ventures Brazil, a World Resources Institute program designed to drive investment into green companies.
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