Google has huge plans for the Latin American region if recent developments by the company are anything to go by. The company recently opened a hub in São Paulo which will not only serve the region but will also host a Google campus. It seems that the company’s decisions are informed by the sheer number of Google product users in the region. Campus São Paulo has taken a while before being launched since it was announced in 2014. The director, André Barrence, reckons that there is a huge startup potential which the company seeks to harness. Many financial companies are opening offices in Latam – a trend that Google is seemingly copying with its brand new office in Latam.

New tactics have been formulated

Alongside the opening of the campus, André Barrence admits that the company has had to change its strategy and the way they approach the market. While the company knows that things will not always be great, they have laid down strong foundations that will not only nurture startups but will also support businesses that have already been established. This is a major change in strategy according to the Google executive. The strategy will be designed in a way that will save time and allow more interaction with users. The São Paulo campus has attracted lots of attention and the initial workshops and acceleration programs received about 600 users a day.

Barrence says that they will do more than just support startups for basic needs. The plan is to develop the entire ecosystem and steer the startups in the right direction. To do this, the company will create a need for urgency in development while being patient to get the desired results. The company also managed to achieve greater results by zeroing down on the application of technology in specific sectors.

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There are bigger plans for the campus

While the campus does not have the capacity to reach every region in Latin America, Google has established a strategy to ensure that entrepreneurial programs are accessible all over. The company is doing this through partner networks which have been successful inside Brazil and which will be exported to the rest of Latin America. Exchange programs have for instance proven to be great initiatives for entrenching the ecosystem’s reach. Campus São Paulo is also not working alone as it has identified partners in Argentina and Mexico. Barrence has also indicated that the Brazilian startup community is still playing catchup to older campuses in other parts of the world.

He particularly noted that the communities in London and Tel Aviv are for instance much more focused on getting support for making expansions while the Brazilian community is basically looking for fundamental support and mentoring.

Local startups are tailored to fix local challenges

A unique factor that has stood out for Google executives is that the local community is coming up with solutions that are particular to Brazil. This is not a bad thing according to Barrence as the solutions can also be applied in areas with similar needs. The phenomenon has also encouraged the company to export ideas to other hubs. The Brazilian community is without a doubt innovative but some legal and political bottlenecks still need to be fixed.

Barrence says that by working with local agencies, they have been able to identify and start the push for the restructuring of some of the laws that act as inhibitors to innovation. Some of the difficult regulations are specifically related to tax and labor. The Google executive admits that it is the local community that will lead the push for the much-needed changes that will be great for the ecosystem.

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The future plans

Campus São Paulo has more plans for next year which include achieving new milestones in startup development in the region. In addition to that, the campus will highlight its role to the local community and get more mentors from Google to work with local startups.

The Google executive also notes that the path that will be charted by the company will act as a leading light for other companies looking to do the same things they are doing. Barrence reckons that there is indeed enough space for all actors to engage with the local community. The executive notes that Google’s role is to ultimately ensure that information is shared and that ideas ensue from the partnerships created.


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