By Jack Whibley, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The organizing committee of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Brazilian Micro and Small Enterprises Support Service (Sebrae) have entered into a partnership to help small Brazilian businesses win contracts to supply goods and services to the 2016 Olympics.

Sebrae Deal Done, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Rio 2016™ CEO Sydney Levy and Sebrae Managing Director Cezar Vasquez during the signature of the cooperation agreement, photo by Andre Telles/Sebrae.

The agreement, called “Sebrae on the Podium”, is aimed at micro and small businesses across Brazil. Sebrae will work with businesses to help them to meet the qualification requirements to win contracts directly with Rio 2016 and with the major contractors appointed by Rio 2016.

This will be done through rounds of meetings with Rio 2016, the major contractors, and potential suppliers wishing to win the contracts. The first round of contracts to be discussed will include those for printing, laundry services, uniforms, and housing modules.

In a statement announcing the deal, Sidney Levy, Rio 2016’s Chief Executive Officer said, “We are committed to helping Brazilian enterprises on their path to meet the high standards of the Olympic and Paralympic demands. Technical excellence and transparency, together with concern for sustainability in all the stages of our project, are the basic principles that guide our planning for the procurement of goods and services.”

Fernando Cotrim, Rio 2016’s Procurement Director echoed Levy’s remarks and stressed the importance that sustainability will have for small businesses hoping to win contracts for the Olympics. He said, “The technical cooperation agreement between Rio 2016 and Sebrae will be an important tool to leverage micro and small enterprises all over Brazil in order to meet the high-standard sustainability criteria and to actively participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games supply chain.”

Rio Olympic Training Center, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Artist rendering of the three pavilions that will become the country’s first Olympic Training Center, photo by EOM/Rio 2016.

While helping small businesses compete for the Olympics’ contracts, the agreement is also intended to leave a lasting legacy after the games by improving Brazilian enterprises’ competitiveness.

Cotrim continued, “We believe the games are an excellent opportunity to boost less developed markets in Brazil. This way, through the partnership, we intend to encourage entrepreneurship, which we see as an important growth lever for the country.”

One such entrepreneur who received guidance from Sebrae in establishing his business in Rio is Charlie Crocker of Piso Plano Design.

He told The Rio Times about how Sebrae helped him, “I heard that Sebrae was a non-government agency that assisted with setting up small businesses. I met Sebrae who were very helpful in pointing out the key factors in establishing the business. It was a frank conversation that someone from the government would not have been able to have.” Crocker continues, “Sebrae provided suitable guidance allowing me to complete the processes online and then have the necessary meetings.”

Sebrae’s initiative with Rio 2016 complements other work it is doing in relation to major sporting events in Brazil. This week it is holding talks in São Paulo on how small businesses in the creative industries can win work related to the 2014 football (soccer) World Cup.

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