Title: Challenges and opportunities for biotechnology SMEs in Brazil

Authors: Waldemiro Francisco Sorte Junior

Addresses: Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management, Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco C, sobreloja, 70046-900, Brasilia-DF, Brazil

Abstract: This paper presents the current situation of Brazilian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the biotechnology sector, outlining the funding structure and presenting the main actors involved in nurturing the development of this sector in the country. This study is based on a fieldwork conducted from April 2010 to January 2011 in the Bio-Rio Foundation, a business incubator located in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and on in-depth interviews with consultants from universities and public officials from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade. The case study highlights two main constraints faced by SMEs in Brazil: 1) scaling up laboratory-level experiments to commercial production; 2) lack of demand. Business incubators play an important role in providing infrastrucuture and management assistance to aid interpreneurs in the initial manufacturing stages of the production process. However, the promotion of more integration between university-based business incubators and the private sector is pivotal for the development of a robust biotechnology sector in the country. The Ministry of Health may additionally function as an outlet for SMEs' production by offering preferential or favourable conditions in public procurement tenders for programmes of the Brazilian National Public Health System (SUS).

Keywords: biotechnology SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; business incubators; public procurement; public health sector; healthcare; Brazil; funding structure; entrepreneurship; university-industry cooperation; industrial collaboration.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2013.056275

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2013 Vol.20 No.2, pp.135 - 147

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 03 Sep 2013 *

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