Expanding a company internationally is not for the faint-hearted. It takes an abundance of time, a wealth of resources and often a leap of faith. That’s where Invest Ottawa’s Soft Landing Program comes in. It can help mitigate the hurdles a company faces by facilitating all the networking, market research, and business development opportunities. And in rare circumstances, it can turn months of work into mere days. On the heels of receiving international awards regarding its Foreign Direct Investment strategies, Ottawa has never been in a stronger position to help.
Brazil startup Asteria saw the appeal of Ottawa right away. A small, innovative software development firm, Asteria currently develops products in the SaaS space. Founder Flávio Banyai, has been considering the possibility of expanding into Canada for some time. Banyai took part in a mixed delegation from Brazil in November 2014 organized by DFATD to explore the Canadian model and potential partnerships. He was so impressed with the Ottawa innovation ecosystem he decided to zero in on the nation’s capital.
Banyai spoke with IO about his choice to test the local waters and what opportunities exist for Ottawa firms in Brazil:
Why Ottawa? What intrigued you about the city?
My sister has lived here for 12 years and also works in the IT industry. She always told me about the many tech companies that were settled here. This makes it attractive by itself because you know you can explore partnerships, share experiences, and can easily find talented professionals. The proximity to other important cities in Canada and the US makes it even more attractive. And talking about Canada, in general, the absence of bureaucracy and the low tax rates are also a huge difference when compared to Brazil.
How did you decide Invest Ottawa’s Soft Landing Program was for you?
Since I want to bring my company to Canada, the Soft Landing Program seemed to be the perfect program for me to get in touch with everything a foreign business will need to get settled, like HR, immigration, accounting, etc. It’s a chance to meet startups and people who “breathe the same air” as we do, in the sense of developing innovative products and services.
What are you hoping to achieve while you are here?
My hope is to acquire a wealth of information and contacts that will help me to bring my company to Ottawa. Also, I’m connecting with so many people here – Invest Ottawa can also assist these companies expand their businesses into the Brazilian market.
What opportunities exist for Ottawa companies in Brazil?
My company is located in the city of São Paulo – Brazil’s largest economic hub – where 30 million people live in the extended metropolitan area. Aside from our passion for football and samba, in the tech world we are passionate about social networks (we are right behind US in Facebook and Twitter in number of user accounts) and it’s estimated there will be about 50 million smartphone users by the end of 2015. I believe those are key ingredients for any IT company or startup to understand the full potential.
Learn how Invest Ottawa’s Soft Landing Program will help your business here