Performance in Support for Innovation

Innovation is a priority issue for Brazil, due to its capacity to contribute to the country’s growth and the improvement of competitiveness of Brazilian companies. Systematic investment in innovation can guarantee long-term sustainability in national development and, besides the aforementioned positive impact on the increase in competitiveness, it may boost the creation of better jobs and the better use of natural resources.

The government’s recognition of the importance of investing in innovation resulted in a series of public policies being incorporated, initially with the Sectorial Resources and the Innovation Laws (Law Nº. 10,973, of 12.02.2004) and Asset Law (Law Nº. 11,196, of 11.21.2005) and, afterwards, with the Production Development Policy (PDP), the Brasil Maior Plan, and the Science, Technology and Innovation Action Plan (PACTI).

The PACTI, in effect since 2007, and revised in 2011, has four strategic priorities: expansion and consolidation of the National Science, Technology and Innovation System; promotion of technological innovation in companies; research, development and innovation in strategic areas; and science, technology and innovation for social development. The priorities establish goals shared with the industrial policy, with the purpose of increasing business investments in Research and Development (R&D) in relation to the GDP.

The Bank, in keeping with public policy, also adopted innovation as a strategic priority and used the industrial policy, along with the objectives and programs established in the PACTI, as a reference to steer its guidelines in support for innovation. Partner in efforts outlined in the PACTI, it created specific instruments with the purpose of supporting innovation in companies of different sizes and in all sectors of the economy.

The BNDES’ objective is to develop and finance investment projects associated with capacity-building and innovative environments, contributing to better competitive positioning of companies and to the increase in innovative activities in the country, so they can be achieved systematically.

The year 2011 was marked by the BNDES’ revision of its Innovation Policy, which began to incorporate issues, such as the generation of economic and social value, the creation of better quality jobs, the increase in production efficiency, environmental sustainability and the country’s sustained growth.

Another highlight during the year was the constitution of the Innovation Committee (COIN). Comprising representatives from nine of the Bank’s divisions, the COIN was created because of the need to standardize concepts and procedures regarding innovation. With its consulting and technical nature, the Committee provides advice when analyzing financial support requests submitted to the BNDES within the scope of instruments supporting innovation.

In 2011, the deadline for the BNDES Investment Maintenance Program (BNDES PSI) was once again extended, providing lower interest rates for innovation projects until late 2012. There was also the reformulation of the Credit Limit products, making its use possible to support research, development and innovation projects. This measure’s objective was to speed up the support for innovative companies with low credit risk. The non-reimbursable Technological Fund (BNDES Funtec) prioritized projects aimed at stimulating technological development and innovation, focusing on the following issues: energy (bioenergy, alternative energy, thermal power stations, nuclear energy and energy distribution); environment; health; electronics; new materials; chemistry; transport; as well as oil and gas. The BNDES also relies on the Criatec Fund, highlighted in "The BNDES in Numbers". Disbursements earmarked for supporting innovation lines and programs in 2011 surpassed the goals established and reached the amount of R$ 2.6 billion, higher than the R$ 1.4 billion in 2010. In 2011, the value earmarked for the purchase of industrial equipment for micro and small companies was approximately R$ 1.7 billion.

A guideline of the BNDES is to support public policies that strengthen the National Innovation System. This support is materialized in strengthening partnerships and in the articulated performance with other public entities responsible for the technological and scientific development of the country. In this sense, the BNDES has granted credit of R$ 1 billion to the Financing of Studies and Projects (Finep), so it could expand its innovation portfolio.

Another initiative in partnership with Finep was the launch of the Support Plan for Industrial Technological Innovation of the Sugar-based Energy and Chemical Sectors (PAISS). The initiative, which relies on R$ 1 billion in resources from the BNDES to be used up to 2014, intends to develop entrepreneur activities for the development, production and sales of new industrial technologies for processing sugarcane biomass.

Besides this, the BNDES established another partnership with Finep, which began to operate as a financial transfer agent, indirectly operating the Technological Innovation Line and the Innovating Capital Line.

Seeking to improve its knowledge on innovation characteristics and the dynamics of Brazilian companies, in 2011 the BNDES, with resources from the Project Structuring Fund (FEP) and in conjunction with the University of São Paulo Support Foundation, began the process to select and contract a study to be conducted based on data from the latest Technological Innovation Research (Pintec). The study will provide a systematic diagnosis of the activities and the innovative capacity of the Brazilian industry, as well as the use of the instruments available to support innovation. The BNDES expects the study to contribute not only to the improvement of its operational policy for supporting innovation, but also to public policy that is more appropriate for developing innovation in Brazilian companies.