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BNDES-FAPESP Agreement Expands Support for Innovation


 The agreement grants innovative emerging companies easier access to BNDES credit lines and variable income instruments

 Investment in innovation is one of the strategic priorities of the bank
The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) signed a technical cooperation agreement on Tuesday, September 3, aiming at expanding the possibilities of support for small innovative companies and boost investment in innovation in the country, especially in the strategic areas of advanced manufacturing and the internet of things (IoT). Present at the signing ceremony at the Bandeirantes Palace in São Paulo were state governor Geraldo Alckmin and BNDES president Paulo Rabello de Castro.
The cooperation agreement grants innovative emerging companies, previously supported by the FAPESP program Innovative Research in Small Businesses (PIPE), easier access to BNDES credit lines and variable income instruments (investment funds for innovation) – based on an economic evaluation by the bank – and enables cooperation between both institutions for specific projects such as the Engineering Research Centers maintained by the Foundation in partnership with companies and research institutes. It is hoped that the agreement will allow BNDES and Fapesp to integrate initiatives and instruments for the development of those centers.
“FAPESP supports startups interested in testing or developing an innovative idea up to the prototype phase, through PIPE. The problem is that, as in the rest of the world, they must survive the ‘valley of death’ in the next innovation phase. Now, thanks to the agreement with BNDES, those which have developed technological viability will have access to the funds of the bank to place their product in the market,” stated FAPESP President José Goldemberg.
Goldemberg further emphasized that in some cases, the development of new technologies requires a greater effort in partnership with large companies. For instance, the Engineering Research Centers, formed by FAPESP and companies such as Shell, Peugeot Citroën, GSK, Statoil and Natura, among others, in cooperation with universities and research institutes. “The partnership with BNDES may enable investment in future Engineering Research Centers,” says the Foundation’s president.
The agreement also provides for the joint evaluation of relevant technological areas to devise public policies and coordinate investment efforts in the country, such as the issue of joint calls for projects related to research, development and innovation (R,D&I) in advanced manufacturing and the internet of things (IoT).
According to Rabello de Castro, investment in innovation is one of the strategic priorities of BNDES: “The agreement signed with Fapesp is part of the efforts of the bank to encourage innovation. We seek to combine efforts to exploit resources available for innovation in the country, in a coordinated and planned approach. In my view, the mobilization of the private sector and research institutions is essential for the development of scientific and technological initiatives.”
The agreement is valid for five years and a work plan shall be drafted to detail and monitor activities. 
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