March 31, 2015 – Tampa, Fla. How important is networking when it comes to finding opportunity? This was the question addressed by the most recent gathering of The Brazil-Florida Business Council (BFBC).
High-level representatives from both the business community and public agencies came together to listen to Steve Knode's presentation on "Understanding the Brazilian Market: Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Opportunities" on Monday, March 30 at The Tampa Club.
“It's important to work with partners such as the Brazil-Florida Business Council to help counsel and advise American companies about doing business in Brazil.” Said keynote speaker Stephen P. Knode, Deputy Senior Commercial Officer for the United States Commercial Service (USCS), the federal agency charged with promoting and protecting US business interests throughout Brazil, visited the BFBC gathering from his post in São Paulo. He discussed the positive attributes that attract business to the Brazil market as well as some of the common challenges for Florida businesses as well.
Lorrie Belovich, Director of International Business Development for the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and a board member of the BFBC explained that part of her job is networking to promote trade investment. She not only works with Tampa Bay companies who want to export their products to Brazil, but also the Brazilian companies who want to establish operations in the Tampa Bay area. “We all can't do everything. There are so many layers of the onion in building international relationships. Having an organization like this, that can leverage and consolidate the efforts of what everyone is doing, with a focus on a single market like Brazil, is absolutely an incredible asset to our region,” Belovich said.
“There are a lot of companies looking to do business in this state. It's important to be plugged in,” Joe Davila, Vice President International Services Division of BB&T explained. “I have companies that are importing and exporting, to Brazil and from Brazil. I need to be aware of what is going on because there are challenges. This is a large market, and we can't ignore it.”
Donald T. MacDonald, Founder and CEO of Consilium Global Research, a research firm based in St. Petersburg, shared why the BFBC is a vital source of information and connections necessary for his business. “Networking is extremely important. How do you meet people? The hardest part is knocking on doors,” he said.
Vitauts M. Gulbis, a partner at Akerman LLP, talked about what the Council means to Akerman’s legal business. “An organization like the BFBC works primarily for us as an opportunity to see who in the global marketplace are interested in doing things in Brazil. By doing this, we get to meet people, we get to see potential clients, and put people together.”
Luncheon keynote speaker Knode stressed that these monthly briefings help spotlight opportunities and provide a better understanding of Brazil to those in the Florida business community.
The Brazil-Florida Business Council, Inc. ("BFBC"), a Tampa-based business organization was established to foster bilateral trade and investment opportunities between Brazil and the state of Florida, support initiatives and entities that facilitate the flow of goods, services, and people and to drive economic growth and opportunities for communities in both regions. If you are interested in joining The Brazil-Florida Business Council, membership information is available at www.brazilfloridabusiness.com/join or contact firstname.lastname@example.org