Foster explores ICT opportunities in Brazil


Significant opportunities exist for Northern Ireland companies in Brazil’s digital sector, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has said.

Speaking during a visit to Brazil’s largest technology park, the Porto Digital Complex in Recife, Arlene Foster said: “ICT is an important sector in Recife and has stimulated real growth in the area, parallel to our own experiences in Northern Ireland.

“Porto Digital has a host of companies specialising in ICT and creative industries, some of which may be interested in international partnering opportunities. This is an opportunity I will be encouraging local companies to explore.

“As part of this important trade mission, three Northern Ireland ICT companies - Qwizdom, Texthelp and Display Note - will also visit Educor, a conference & exhibition in Sao Paulo dedicated to ICT in Education, to find out more about the potential that exists to build business links in Brazil.”

Recife is the capital city of Pernambuco – one of Brazil’s fastest growing states - and is an important hub for business, politics and higher education in north east Brazil. As well as visiting the Porto Digital Complex, the Minister travelled to the Suape Port Complex where she met with the Director of Suape Global, Silvio Leimig.

The largest and most modern shipyard in the southern hemisphere, the Port Complex is split into five distinct zones. Within a three-year period from 2007, over 50 new companies invested there and currently there are 35 businesses in the phase of establishing.

Considering potential areas for collaboration the Minister said: “Pernambuco is one of the fastest growing states in Brazil and the Suape Port and Industrial Complex is at the epicentre. In order to attract new businesses, Suape has a tailorised policy of tax incentives and the local banks are responding to the current economic climate to ensure companies have access to finance.

“The Port is a strategic location for companies who specialise in offshore renewables; food and beverages; transports and logistics; and information technology. The philosophy is that where there’s work there’s reward, and this is something that we can learn from.”

After discussing the development of the Titanic Quarter and the Northern Ireland Science Park Arlene Foster concluded: “There is a large British influence in the State of Pernambuco which means that people often look to the UK as a partner of choice. This is something we need to capitalise on. Today’s visit has given me the opportunity to highlight the synergies between Recife and Northern Ireland and there are a number of areas of potential that we will now explore.”

This Minister also attended a Science without Borders dinner with representatives of Pernambuco’s universities, Queen’s University Belfast and Texthelp, one of the trade mission participants.