Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) has unveiled a new Strategic Program for Software and Information Technology in Brazil, announcing R$ 500 million (approximately US$ 248 million) in planned investments from 2012-2015 to build and strengthen Brazil’s competitiveness in this sector. Known domestically as “TI Maior“, the program is integrated with Brazil’s 2012-2015 National Strategy for Science, Technology & Innovation, which called for the establishment of a specific program to stimulate the development of the domestic software and IT services industry
“Brazilian software should be globally competitive,” said Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Marco Antonio Raupp. Speaking at the launch of the program in Sao Paulo recently, he explained: “We want software production in Brazil to grow at a very high rate in order to attract foreign resources to the country, generate income for businesses and create skilled job positions for Brazilians.”
TI Maior is structured around five pillars: economic and social development; international positioning; innovation and entrepreneurship; scientific and technological production; and competitiveness. The program will focus on several core objectives that include accelerating the growth of technology-based companies, consolidating Brazil’s digital ecosystems; placing a preference on domestic software solutions for government contracts; training a young IT workforce and attracting global companies to establish research centers in Brazil.
The MCTI’s Secretary for Information Technology Policy Virgilio Almeida says that one of the primary goals of the program is to reduce the gap in science and technology that separates Brazil from more developed nations.
“Brazil’s IT sector already includes 73,000 companies that earned US$ 37 billion in 2011, demonstrating that our industry is highly capable. The TI Maior program will advance this innovative field and, in so doing, will speed the development of other sectors in Brazil ,” said Secretary Almeida.
The program’s investment funds will be provided by the Brazilian Innovation Agency (FINEP / MCTI) and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq / MCTI).
Start-up Promotion & Certification
Encouraging start-up companies will be one of the main drivers of the Strategic Program for Software and IT Services.
Start-up companies will be offered support through a network of mentors and investors that include technological consultants, research institutes and incubators, and partners at universities, large national and international companies. Other benefits will include tailored market access programs and preference with government contracts.
In addition, the program will promote the expansion of Brazil’s technological base through the creation of national technology software and services certifications (CERTICs), which will establish a methodology for evaluating the quality of Brazil’s software.
“National software certification will guide the process of government purchasing of domestic software and IT solutions. The Renato Archer Center for Information Technology, which is linked to the Ministry of Technology, will be responsible for issuing these certifications,” said Secretary Almeida.
Strategic sectors for high-tech solutions
TI Maior establishes 12 strategic sectors – selected for their significant economic and social impact – in which the development of highly complex software and IT solutions will be prioritized. These sectors include: education, defense and cyber security, healthcare, oil and gas, energy, aerospace / aeronautics, major sporting events, agriculture and environment, finance, telecommunications, mining and strategic technologies (including cloud computing, Internet, digital gaming, high performance computing and open source software).
The program will stimulate the creation of projects in public and private research institutes, as well as the formation of academic networks and business ecosystems to promote growth and technological advancement in these 12 strategic sectors.
The private sector has a large and necessary role to play in this process, says Antonio Gil, President of Brazil’s Association of Information Technology and Communication (Brasscom). “The TI Maior program aims to make Brazil a global power in the IT services sector. It will be up to the private sector to ensure excellence in software development and services,” he said.
Creating Brazil’s next IT workforce
To stimulate long-term job creation in this field and build a workforce with high-tech skills, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has also developed the “Increasing Brazil’s IT Education” project in partnership with the Ministry of Education and business associations.
Based on an analysis of the current market of IT professionals in Brazil , the project primarily aims to increase connectivity between Brazil’s college students and IT sector professionals. The program will create a digital hub to facilitate communication between these two parties and publicize job vacancies, basic and advanced courses, and professional information, and offer free courses for students and communities, and general information about technological development and related government programs.
The “Increasing Brazil’s IT Education” program aims to train 50,000 new employees by 2014.
By 2022, the goal is to train 900,000 new professionals, which market analysis indicates will be needed in addition to the current base of 1.2 million professionals for Brazil’s sector to maintain growth and global competitiveness.
Attracting Global Centers of Innovation
The MCTI also announced a series of measures within the TI Maior program to attract global companies to establish high-tech research centers in Brazil.
These measures include the creation of a bidding process to award grants to Brazilian researchers to work in global research centers, a model similar to that adopted by the Science Without Borders Program.
TI Maior also establishes fiscal and tax benefits for initiatives integrated with the “Hall of Innovation”, Brazil’s flagship project to increase international investments in R&D.
“By enhancing the domestic software made by Brazilian or foreign companies, we are encouraging research and development in IT. This means that not only companies in the industry will be encouraged to promote R&D internally, but that the connection of these companies with our universities and research centers will also be encouraged, resulting in the establishment of very productive and long-term partnerships,” said Minister Raupp